Papier | The Bruery

224 Ratings

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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 224 |  Reviews: 108
Photo of zdk9
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark mahogany. Not a lot of head. Cloudy.

S- Smells pretty hot and sweet. Super sweet orange. Caramel, milk chocolate, soy sauce. Really complex as it warms up. I definitely get the bourbon flavors.

T- A suprising balance of sweet, hot, and spicy. Some vanilla and wood. Again more soy sauce. Also some maple syrup. A really powerful taste.

M- Stickingly bitter on the sides of my tongue, while sweet in the middle- it's an interesting combination.

D- A really complex beer (as expected) I would love to have and savor another bottle of this.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 shared with the boys a couple weeks ago at Ditmier's house.. Picked this up in Denver during the GABF.. Thanks for hosting Eric.

Bottle #1962

Hazy deep chestnut brown... no real head... dark tan head showed with a good glass swirl... so do some EtOH legs..

Boozy.... burnt sugars... solvent alcohol... pretty hot really... some dark dried fruit seems to work it's way in... rich raisins and plum/lite prune.. deep caramel...

Palate follows the nose with some figgy sweetness and pureed golden raisin.. lite cocoa helps.. some vanilla mid palate with lite oaky tannins that milk the finish as it combines with some pretty heavy booze that helps cut through the sweetness.

Not as much carbonation as I would have hoped for... but I believe this is a keeper... a long time cellar keeper... the body is on the heavy side, but this will age like a champ.... now I just need to get more. :-)


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

sampled april 10/2010 as part of our giant bruery tasting. Viggo and ritzkiss provided the brews, so thanks to eric and eric!

750ml bottle topped with black wax.

pours pale brown with a small layer of tan head. the head drops fairly fast and leaves spotty lace. appears a bit hazy, especially toward the bottom.

aroma is great. super fruity. raisin, grape, date, fig, plum. alcohol. bit of dark chocolate. sweet caramel and toffee. vanilla. bit of raw oak.

taste is good. warming alcohol. big fruity character. raisin, date, fig, plum. caramel and toffee. slightly sweet, but not quite as much as i expected from the aroma. light dark chocolate. bit of anise. medium-low bitterness level. light vanilla. bit of raw oak. the barrels are very subtle and well integrated.

mouthfeel is good. very low carbonation level. nice big body.

drinkability is great. far better balance than i expected from a beer of this size. the barrel is also very well integrated and perfectly balanced. very interested to see how this one changes with a little time in the cellar. i bet it'll become even more impressive.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml wax top bottle into a tasting snifter glass. Pours a murky brownish orange at first, but fills the glass a muddy looking brown. Even with a slightly aggressive pour, no real head to speak of, and therefore no lacing either. Appears to be no carbonation through the pour as well.

Wow, aroma is intense. Very sweet wine like aroma. Raisin, huge malts, bourbon booze! This smells like it's going to be quite a sipper!

Intense, viscous, sweet...VERY SWEET, very boozy, malty, I was right, this is definitely a sipper. This is a great beer! The sweetness factor almost makes it overwhelming...but sipping it makes it tolerable. Therefore, the drinkability rating has to come down. The fruit notes are raisin and plum?? Again, what a good beer!

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

750 ml bottle, # 1499. Picked up at Belmont Station. First beer in our mega Bruery tasting.

Pours a murky brownish/ruby red, some nice highlights, very opaque, thin light tan ring forms and slowly settles to a big bubbles layer on the glass, no real lacing, looks neat.

Smell is intense, tons of rich toffee and raisin, dates, brown sugar, booze, some wood, grapes, light vanilla, very juicy, light whiskey and brandy, pretty nice.

Taste is similar, quite rich and sweet up front, big toffee and raisin, brown sugar, light molasses, dates, grapes, alcohol, light oak and vanilla, decent bitterness in the finish, keeps this from being cloying.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, very full bodied with low carbonation, warm and buttery going down. This is a nice English barleywine. I bet it'll kick some ass with a couple years on it.

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Photo of bartle
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Eric for this one! The first of a long day of Bruery beers!

Pours a murky brown, bog water, tan head, quickly dissipating, no retention.

the nose is full of bourbon, raisins, caramel, molasses, strong fruit character and a little touch of tartness and spice. Very nice.

The flavour carries well from the nose. Stewed raisins and currents, some toast, vanilla, more caramel, there is a little underlying touch of grape juice concentrate. This isn't a bad thing. Super complex, but so easy to drink. Not as hot as I would expect for such a high octane beer. Just a nice warming sensation, clean and dry finish. A touch of oak like character, though I was expecting more to come through. Pretty sweet but it's still balanced.

The body is rich, thick, low carbonation, and just very smooth with the residual sugars lingering nicely on the palate.

This is a fantastic old ale and would cellar well. Even now it was nice and mellow. A great sipping beer.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml shared at our mega Bruery tasting courtesy of viggo, bottle 1499. Thanks!

Pours a rusty brandy caramel color, some murk especially at the bottom of the bottle and a few loose bubbles on the pour, not a ton of carbonation.

Nose is sweet and fruity, loads of plump juicy raisins, plums and other ripe fruit, toffee and caramel.

Sweet bready toffee, fruit bread, bourbon soaked raisins, caramel, candy sugar, vanilla, real sweet but offset in the finish with a light bitterness that never seems to let the sweetness get out of hand - like Black Tuesday in that regards. Somehow all that sweetness never seems too much. Soft silky mouthfeel though I felt it wouldn't hurt to have just a touch more carbonation. Light alcohol burn on the way down but it hides the ABV so well, again like Black Tuesday.

Not sure how the Bruery does it but this is another top notch, high ABV beer that is a real sipper yet never a chore. Reminded us a bit of a younger JW Lee's but more put together, more integrated. Not sure I would go for a whole bottle but as a share it was a real treat. Bot drinkable in the "I would down a couple of these in an evening" but for what it is, very drinkable. Would cellar very well IMO.

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Photo of bobsy
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice to try this stuff, and a lovely looking bottle too. I think this bottle was viggo's, so thanks Eric!

Pours an oaken brown with a off-white collar and a slight film. A couple of lace spots, but not much in the way of retention, which is what I expect from the style. Smell is what old ales are all about - rich, full and tempting. There's lots of raisins married to toffee, and there's a great bready base holding it together.

Taste lives up to the nose. Caramel drenched raisins, some vanilla, wood, nuts and sweet bread. A lot of brown sugar makes this one sweet, but its fairly well-balanced by a decent bitterness. Alcohol is nicely hidden. Full, chewy mouthfeel with low carbonation adds to the richness, and suits the style well.

This is a stellar old ale, and I'm really pleased I got to try it. Meag-impressed that the Bruery can make such strong stuff so drinkable. Sweetness would limit the size of my pour, but this is great in small doses.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.36/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 anniversary. Poured a dark cola color with negligible head and little lacing. The smell is a wonderful intense rich caramel, cinnamon, vanilla butterscotch. Lightly carbonated, the mouth feel is full bodied smooth and velvety creamy. All of the aspects of the nose are represented full in the bold rich flavors. The 14.5% ABV will get you there. I'm definitely going to seek this one out again

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Photo of BDLbrewster
2.22/5  rDev -44.8%
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 Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
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 ibbjamin
3.59/5  rDev -10.7%
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 charlesw
1.35/5  rDev -66.4%
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 ThreeWiseMen
4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled this courtesy of Swimsum at the central coast BA gathering last night. Thanks Brent!

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Fizzy, off-white head quickly dissipates to essentially nothing. Body looks thick, flat, and oily; deep, hazy, mahogany in color. Leaves oily residue on the walls of the glass when swirled - no lacing.

Smell: Brown sugar, raisins, candy, bourbon, and a touch of dark chocolate. Very smooth and rich. Wish I had written down a little more about this one...

Taste: Molasses, sweet brandy and bourbon, oak, black pepper, and heavy esters. The barrel-aging is very apparent in this beer. Blended beautifully; everything seems to be working together in unison. Finishes hot and dry.

Mouthfeel: Oily, hot, and dry. Can be pretty harsh at times, but for the most part it's smooth. Very syrupy, not at all thin.

Drinkability: A fun drink, but a pretty rough one too. This is a very slow sipper.

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Photo of bret27
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle courtesy of swimsum I believe. 1 of 2 beers I was able to rate during this crazy tasting.

A: Dark brn, w/minimal head

S: Spices, figs, bourbon, vanilla

T: Caramel, vanilla, boozey, complex. Lots going on in this one but hard to pin down all the flavors.

M/D: Smooth and syrupy, almost no carbonation presence in mouthfeel. Sweet, syrupy, boozey, not the greatest drinkability, but good for hellaciously high abv.

Overall: I liked this, and would seek out more of the variations if presented w/the opportunity.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
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 Schmaltzy
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had several glasses at the Bruery Reserve celebration.

A- Nice light brown/reddish color with a nice 1/2 finger white/offwhite head with nice clumpy lacing left behind.

S- Nice smells of figs, dates, raisins, toffee, baking spices, and a huge amount of bourbon right in the middle of everything.

T- Similar to the smell with an addition of nice vanilla bourbon and vanilla oak flavors, just take the smells listed and add a huge amount of creamy vanilla oak.

M- Nice heavy beer yet it stays smooth and creamy with light/medium carbonation and a nice sweet and dry oaky finish.

D- Like I said, I probably had about 4 glasses of this beer and loved everyone of them, just an awesome sipper, but not a session beer due to the 14% alcohol.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.89/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had bottle #3755/4777, corked and waxed, at the Gingerman in Manhattan, split with a friend. This was the first time I've found the beer, and it was waaaay better than expected. It poured dark reddish brown with no head, just a few random bubbles on the surface. The aroma was really impressive, damn near perfect. It smelled more like a port wine than anything else, just so good that I couldn't stop from sniffing. Rich and redolent, dark fruits and caramel, absolutely delicious smell and taste. Holy crap but this is in the top tier of all beers I've tried, the real deal. Lots of sweetness in the taste, plums and raisins, and also the light burn of alcohol but not too much to really hurt the drinkability. The body is thick but it fits the flavors well. Very little carbonation but again this fits the overall style, at least it felt right. A very impressive beer that I was glad to find, worth the $25 at a fine bar.

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Photo of brentk56
3.38/5  rDev -15.9%
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 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 LilBeerDoctor
1.46/5  rDev -63.7%
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 SShelly
4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drunk at bottlerock in downtown la.

Pours a crystal clear dark brown with zero head, A little bit of swirling produces a little bit of fizz but nothing that lasts.

Aroma is like candy sweet and syrupy, very powerful, as someone with not the greatest sense of smell I really appreciate this, its fullon in your face aroma, dark malt is hidden behind there.

Flavor carries the trend from the aroma, sweet dark malt and dark fruit with a suprising bit of bitterness behind, leaves the bitterness on your mouth. Almost no warming in the mouth with a ton as it pours down your throat, this is definetly 14.5% as advertised. The wood imparts a nice vanilla twang to the beer but is not overpowering.

Overall I really enjoyed the 12 oz's I got out of this bottle, very flavorful, slanted to the sweet side of things. Probably wouldnt buy another because of how spendy it is but still damn tasty.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml waxed bottle poured into a sampling glass.

Pours a very dark black with some light hints of ruby/deep brown with a small off white head. Nose is very rich with roasted malt, oak and bourbon.

Taste is very rich and has a lot of woody/oaky/bourbon as expected but it's really excellent and one of the best beers I've had in a long time. Also has a tinge of tart/sour to it but it's very subtle and crisp.

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Photo of slayer3604
4.87/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- A magnificent crystal clear ruby with a very very small amount of white head that has goldfish eye-sized bubbles in the midst of a tight foam.

S- Splash of bourbon, fig, caramel, spice and all sorts of running complexions that are too strong to pick apart one by one...

T-Plum, strong warming alcohol, vanilla, and creme brule`!!

M- firm, yet silky smooth, with a spicy dry finish.

D- I want this to be served with my last meal if i ever get thrown on death row. Its very heavy but bearable. I love heavy beer like this.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.51/5  rDev -12.7%
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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Papier from The Bruery
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 224 ratings
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