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Papier | The Bruery

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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 Dreadnaught33
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. I think I'm rating the right one if I say its 75% oak barrel and 25% bourbon?

A: Really dark muddy brown with just some bubbles for head, no lacing, yellow and orangish highlights as well.

S: Leather, prune, dark fruit, some kitchen spice like faint oregano, oak notes, a little bourbon alc. heat, nice overall.

T: Wow nice oak mixing with dark fruit juicy notes like pomegranate, vanilla, sugary leather notes, some bittersweet notes at the back of palate, maybe even grape-cranberry notes. Complex and nice.

M: 14.5%? Could have fooled me. Very smooth and viscous.

D: Big and touch after a while to get down, but a great tasting beer.

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Photo of bbeane
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into my PALM snifter... Black in color with a weak brown head. No light shines through when held up to the ceiling

S- Without even putting my nose close to the glass I can smell dark fruits and booziness. After some swirls of my snifter... still an overwhelming aroma of dark fruits, plums, figg, cherries,raisins mixed the earthy smell of the oak barrels. Very boozy

T- Whoa... this one is still really hot even after sitting for a year in the cellar. The taste is perfectly described by your nose in it's smell. Has a nice malty sweet flavor of dark fruits, primarily the plum, raison, and figg with an oaked backbone

M- Very little carbonation with heavy but not chewy body

D- I'm bummed this one is retired... I thought it was great. I don't recall exactly what I payed for it but think it was a bit pricey, and worth every dollar. If you haven't had this and you find one, buy it


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Photo of Thorpe429
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Beer was about a year old when consumed. Thanks to bmanning for pulling this out.

Pours a nice caramel tan color with a slight head that dissipates somewhat quickly. Fairly impressive that it was there for as long as it was. The nose brings forward a bit of booze, dark sugars, caramel, nice fruits, and some toffee. The taste really integrates everything quite well--the booze is there but there is some nice sweetness and great fruit notes in addition to some toffee. Medium feel with really nice warmth. A very nice beer that is aging quite well.

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Photo of maximum12
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to msulinski for sending a bottle of this along the PA-MN railroad that we've constructed over the past several months. This is my fourth go at The Bruery's offerings; looking for that killer app to draw me in.

Split this bottle, which looks as if it could double as a combat weapon, with my wife. Dark pour that could be, debatably, brown, red, black, or more likely, a melange of all three. Almost dead flat. Smell is a six-shooter blazing booze, bourbon, dark shriveled fruits, immolated brown sugar.

Papier...holy shit. Let me recover from making my "O" face, & no, not that one. Blisteringly alcoholic. Third-degree burn alcohol. Luckily for it, & me, the solar flares are in lockstep with a bevy of interesting flavors. Black fruits, plums especially, lend a stinging sweetness, caramel & toffee make an appearance, more brown sugar. Heavy molasses seeps into everything, & begins to take over the experience as the brew warms a bit; maple syrup & bourbon. I likes.

This is one of the thickest, limpest, heaviest beers I've tasted. Close to zero carbonation, massive alcohol, & solid enough to choke on if one's not careful. And the definition of "sipper". Thank goodness I have someone to drink half of this raging monster with.

Well. Excellent beer. Excellent, & unique. Would be interesting to find out what this beer holds in store about 2034 when the alcohol heat dies down.

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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 Gobzilla
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brown with a super thin brown cap of a head with nearly no lacing sticking to the glass. The nose was pretty nice but was pretty boozy alongside vanill, dark fruit, oakiness, and burnt sugar notes. It kinda had faint raisins and caramel but it was for sure a hot boozy aroma. Upfront the booze bourbon shows its face with vanilla chocolate accents but had oak, toffee, and underlying sweet caramel flavors. The brew was medium to full body with a low amount of carbonation whcih had a sweet boozy and silky finish. It was not really drinkable due to the ABV which was really noticeable and at times was taking away from the overall taste. I had my mom try some and she thought it was straight liquor.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown sugar, no head, no lace no nothing.

S - Sweet ripe fruit, brown sugar, dark cooked fruit.

T - Taste follows smell, although more watery than anticipated.

M - Pretty darned flat and it detracts from the experience.

D - One is enough.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bman1113vr for sharing this bottle.

Bottle No. 1,377 of 4,777. The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is dark fruit, oak, vanilla, chocolate and alcohol. The flavor is caramel, toffee, oak, vanilla and bourbon. The alcohol is very well hidden for a beer that has nearly 15 percent alcohol. This is one of the most drinkable high alcohol beers I have tried. Low carbonation and medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of zdk9
4.05/5  rDev +1%
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 +3.2%
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 +5.2%
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 +6.5%
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, smooth...wow. 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 +4.7%
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 +5.5%
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 +9%
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 +7.7%
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 +8.7%
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 -44.6%
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 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 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 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 ThreeWiseMen
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
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 +0.2%
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 -17.7%
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 Schmaltzy
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
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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Papier from The Bruery
4.01 out of 5 based on 222 ratings.
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