White Oak | The Bruery

very good
302 Reviews
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White OakWhite Oak

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: Wheatwine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
White Oak is a blended beer-- 50% wheatwine aged in Bourbon barrels (we call it "White Oak Sap"), and 50% Mischief (our Golden Strong Ale). Vivid caramel, coconut and vanilla flavors blanketed in a crisp yet robust wheat ale, White Oak is an exercise of balance.

Added by OlieIPA on 07-12-2009

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Reviews: 302 | Ratings: 1,307
Photo of SportsandJorts
3.19/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance: a golden honey color. slight haze but still able to see through it. three fingers of a frothy head that fades slowly and lives a pretty solid lacing

Smell: wheaty thats a little bit grassy. strong oak and a little bourbon.

Taste: the taste are a bit muddled together. but i get wheat, with some oak and vanillay bourbon. i don't know if its the combination or just in general the taste but it is really missing something here

Mouthfeel: fairly light. not very sticky or bourbon-like. strong sweetness at the end. some alcohol warmth

Overall: a huge disappointment as a barrel aged beer. also makes 2 of 3 breury beers that have let me down largely (the other was just good not great)

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Photo of deebo
4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pour from the bottle. A lot going on in the aroma and taste of this beer. Oaky, estery, with a balance of sweet cooked Flavors melded nicely with a vanilla bourbon character that is a little more than subtle but not at all overpowering. Nice finish and very well executed blended beer.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is interesting but at the same time it is sort of falling into the category of a 'experimental beer' that doesn't taste all that unique.

Pours with a fizzy white head that dies to a ring, with a very cloudy orange colored hue body with some gold highlights.

The smell is a sort of booze soaked wheat and just a touch of bourbon though it is slight, and mostly I just get a kind of strong though lighter malt note.

The taste has a very distinct 'the Breuery' yeast and malt profile, touched with some oak and a semi sweet to sweet booze flavor. Seem tropical fruit flavors in there as well, which is very interesting and adds in well to the bready malt base.

The feel is good, ok carbo and medium feel, not too hot in the booze.

The beer is good, but not something I'd pay $16 for again honestly. Worth a try.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.46/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a very murky light orange with a frothy bright white foam that takes its time fading and leaves a nice amount of lacing down the glass
S - For me the aroma is very nondescript. I can pick up the wheat along with a hint of some coconut and/or a sort of sap smell.
T - Very interesting flavor, kind of oak-ey, sprucey flavor with coconut coming on strong, some vanilla and oak from the barrel, i taste a little bit of the bourbon but not enough to really pick it out. I'm starting to warm up to this one and am enjoying it more as I drink it.
M/D - medium bodied with a high amount of carbonation. It sort of has a syrupy mouthfeel to it and that detracts a little. It really reminds me of a spruce ale I brewed. I like it, not sure i'd go for another bottle on my own though.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.49/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a brown 750 mL bottle into a small but bulbous snifter/tulip hybrid glass. I believe this is the 2013 version.

Appearance (4.25) - Ruddy brown-orange with highlights of yellow make up the cloudy body. An yellowish-white head of about a finger and a half rests atop with ample bubbles. A film of head remains throughout the beer, with a little more thickness around the edges of the glass. Lacing is moderate and silky.

Smell (4.5) - An intoxicating smell with note of fruit--mango specifically--along with a grainy wheat presence highlighted by veins of citrus and an underlying boozy element from the high alcohol content. Smells strong, but balanced and promising. Gives the impression of a stronger dessert wine, like a sauterne.

Taste (4.25) - The fruity element continues to have a strong presence, but is now flanked by notes of sweet caramel and even some cinnamon. Vanilla comes through from the heat of the bourbon barrels. Again, the wine-y elements are present to make this a very complex and interesting beer.

Mouthfeel (4.25) - Medium-bodied and highly viscous, with the liquid oozing back down the side of the glass after taking a drink. Carbonation is lower, but enough to counterpoint the thickness of the beer.

Overall (4.25) a wonderful beer from The Bruery, which is probably good, given the cost of this particular 750. Brings to mind the feel of cognac or even moreso a strong brandy. If this was more available, I would definitely keep it around.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.69/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours up quite a bit of head which has some retention. The head is mostly cotton white with small hints of yellow. The body is a very hazy grapefruit/deep golden straw which glows a dull orange when held up to the light. Some lacing. Some sheeting around the edge of the beer.

Nose- This perhaps hasn't opened up enough- the aroma is rather subtle. I get some alcohol (no surprise at 11.5%), some weak citrus, a bit of grain, some fruity esters, and notes of oak. The bottle shows some honey and vanilla. After I swirl it a bunch of times, I get some nice mellow coconut. This beer definitely is showing some promise. Some peach as well.

Taste- Lots of zip from the carbonation to start off with. Weak notes of citrus (mostly orange, some orange peel), then a sweetness that shows oak and bourbon. A whole ton of bourbon mixing with orange. Lots of booze on this one. This could probably use some age- this will certainly inform my decision on cellaring Bois. Very complex but not integrated well at the moment. Some notes of solvent right now. Vinous notes- lots of white grape. Some musty barnyard characteristics (straw, basic funkiness). The bourbon, vanilla, and oak do not appear until the finish. Hints of fermented peach underneath the orange peel gives this some foundation. Definite notes of spicy yeast. I like a lot of what is going on in this beer but I think it needs more balance. The caramel gets lost in the mix and for the most part, I get burnt sugar. At this point, definitely not worth 15 bucks.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with some syrupy aspects. Maybe a little too carbonated.

Drinkability- I had easier drinking beers, that's for sure. Very boozy and a little too much oak for me. Still, interesting enough to keep me going.

Overall- Sort of a letdown. I will need to search out other examples of this style. A 3.75 N 4 T 3.5 M 3.5 D 3.5

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a Bruery tulip. It's a beautiful pour. Perfectly clear and gold in color with just a hint of amber. It has rather high carbonation and produces that nice fluffy head that is typical of bottle conditioning. The nose is not as assertive as I had hoped it would be, but I do get notes of grain, cherries, booze, wood, and sherry.

The beer has a full body and a strong, sharp flavor. After a soft cereal flavor teases the tip of your tongue, your mouth is assailed with bourbon and oaky notes. Booze, cherries, vanilla, dried fruit, and the coconut promised by the label all join in. The finish is winey and warming, though not so winey as to betray the nearly 12% ABV present in this beer.

I've only had a couple of wheatwines so my opinion doesn't count for much here. I enjoyed this beer, but I'm not sure the high carbonation suits it well. It opens the palate and intensifies the flavors, where I found that a bit of degassing tends to smooth the beer and adds to the drinkability. After trying two of these barrel-aged (in this case, partially barrel-aged) wheatwines, I must confess I'm not entirely sold on the concept of a barrel-aged wheatwine. I'm not sure that the grainy, cereal-like qualities of the style are well complemented by the bourbon notes it inherits. I find the transition on the palate from soft wheat to harsh booze to be offputting at first, but who knows. It might be a taste I could acquire.

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Photo of scootny
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Definitely my favorite Bruery beer so far. A huge meringue like head that leaves an appreciable amount of lace. A golden hazed amber liquid sits in the glass releasing a touch of carbonation off of the nucleation site of my DT glass.

Smell is very fruity with apricots and green apples wrapped in thin banana sheets. There is tropical edged component of mango and pineapples that carries the bit of alcohol that warns of a strong encounter of the Belgian kind. A light wheat malt with notes of oak, coconut, and vanilla as well.

Taste follows nose with an impressive balance of all the aforementioned. The oaken woodiness brings an expert balance to a caramel sweetness that floats the wheatwine like malt backbone. Vanilla and coconut flow vividly, deliciously as the fruits open subtly. Still this comes off like a BSPA more than anything as it is quite crisp and lighter than WW. A peppery spiciness adds dimension and complexity while cutting the sweetness of the core. Bitterness is firm but laid back as it lets the wood and vanilla linger while your mouth drys.

Feel is perfection. Full, creamy, effervescent, and supple on the tongue. The carbonation stays lively an hour after opening the bottle. The dryness gives a surprising touch of thirst quenching satisfaction even when you are parched.

Oh baby bring me more of this one. The abv is well integrated and while not invisible you can easily make the mistake of drinking this one too quickly.

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Photo of doucmehu
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 25cl tulip from a 750ml bottled March 2013. Bottle has been cellared since purchase last spring.

A: Pours a crystal clear, light golden yellow. Sizeable eggshell head hangs around for quite a while. Lacing is very nice. This beer looks nothing like a barrel-aged 11.5% beer, but rather it resembles a crisp blonde or golden ale.
S: Initial blast is very much white wine. Without looking, I could have easily mistaken it for a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Lots going on here - ripe pear, apple, white grape, vanilla, orange juice, yeast, burnt sugar.
T: Again, lots going on. Starts out with a Belgian strong pale ale presence of spices and yeast, with a little bit of sweetness and citrus. As it warms, more flavors come out and the barrel really starts to become apparent. Along with the coriander, yeast and orange peel and a hint of tropical fruit, there is a lot of “big beer” character with distinct notes of vanilla, toffee and tobacco. Just a hint of tartness on the finish, which really compliments the sweetness in the middle.
M: Very lively carbonation is prickly, and really makes this beer feel smaller than it really is. Alcohol is present with a fair amount of burn, but this helps remind you that it is over 11% abv. Could use some taming to be even better though.
O: I am not thrilled with the price on Bruery offerings, but I have really enjoyed a majority of them so far. This is no exception, as I really enjoyed it. For the abv, it is really quite drinkable and would pair well with a wide variety of foods. The bright Belgian crosses with the sweet barrel character nicely.

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3.16/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

$13 for the 750mL bottle. Poured into a mini snifter
Sampled 07OCT12

[A] Average vigor on the pour and a bright head 1 1/2 fingers high is produced. Foamy on the bottom, fluffy on top. Retention is above average. A thick film and collar remains for quite some time. The body is a hazy peachy-orange with a little light showing through. Transparency is low. Lacing in wavy sheets.

[S] Bourbon infused caramel, light Belgian candi sugars, and an air of coconut wood, plus some wheat.

[T] Bourbon and wheat. Quite an unnatural combination of flavors. You can tell that White Oak is a high gravity beer, but I wouldn't have guessed anything close to 11.5%. So, in that respect...pretty impressive.

[M] The mouthfeel is great. Dances across the tongue with a consistent prickle, stays light, remains crisp, and a wheaty, tangy snap on the finish.

[O] While high gravity wheat beers don't really make sense to me, I actually think this would have been a pretty decent beer...sans the bourbon barrel treatment. The Bruery's website describes White Oak as: "50% wheatwine aged in Bourbon barrels...and 50% Mischief (our Golden Strong Ale)..." - now, things are starting to make sense.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a huge head of white fluff on a hazy straw yellow body.

Strong smell of bourbon, mixed fruits (green apple, apricot), pepper , doughy yeast and booze.

Taste is similar to the aroma, only the bourbon just clearly overpowers everything to dominate the taste. Peppery belgian yeast strain is there underneath the bourbon and oak, also the familiar high abv vanilla cookie flavors present. Green apple is there for sure when you take a second sip and focus on not tasting the bourbon. Many flavors under one roof - just not a balanced ale. High booze factor. Finished with Champagne yeast maybe? it has that champagne dry finish

Feel is light as should be expected for a Wheat ale with Belgian yeast. Highly carbonated, light mouthfeel.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(fresh) 2012 Vintage into a Duvel Tulip

HUGE white foamy head. Super high initial carbonation to go along with. Hazy clarity, which is appropriate for the style, in fact, I'd worry had it been clear. No too much lacing to speak of, expected from the high ABV.

Very nice wheat scent, not too deep. Light fruit along with light vanilla line the innards of this well-balanced brew. Smells like kumquats... Mild tropical wheat scent, interesting.

Whoa! great heavy wheat flavor without the heavy heat. Orange, vanilla, lemon and coriander stand out to me. Amazing crisp smoothness. Grassy and light body.

Flavor could stand to be more aggressive and forward, but overall, a very nice and well thought out brew. Another great offering from Famille Rue! Recommended and worth *some* hype, but over priced at $18/750ml. I have two more and can't wait to report back once some age has been put on them...

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Photo of russwbeck
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy yellow pour that's brown at its deepest colors. Three or four fingers of white head build up and last forever, lacing nicely as it recedes.

S: The aroma is amazingly light for what it is. Wheat is the forefront, and I can't actually smell a lot of bourbon or booze. Spicy like a triple, some light fruits like banana are coming out as well.

T: The booze and bourbon are much more notable here! Sweet vanilla, alcohol, wheat, and some more banana. It's nicely balanced albeit a bit strange. I've never had a wheatwine with bourbon involved, but I like it. It's deep and every sip seemingly brings a new flavor.

MF: Light body with more carbonation than average. However the high carbonation does not lead to a bubble feel on the mouth. Quite the contrary, it goes down really smooth. This is very drinkable for how high the ABV is.

O: Interesting experiment. I can't say it blew me away, but it was definitely above average. The bourbon didn't take the beer over, but simply imparted some really nice characteristics to an already interesting style.

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Photo of cvm4
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy/hazy orange that slants towards amber. An eggshell white head billows to a two finger head and sticks around for the duration of the drink.

S - Tropical fruit & bourbon collide. Mango, wheat, bready malts, caramel and bourbon are noticeable.

T - Same as the smell. Tropical fruits surround the bourbon. Sweet, vanilla, oak, bourbon characteristics and tropical fruits.

M - Very carbonated... Wet, thick body but not cloying at all.

O - Interesting combo that some thought went into.

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Photo of Radome
4.57/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Head is weak to nonexistent, slightly hazy golden color. Delicious aromas of wheat, heavy oak and boozy alcohol. Flavors follow the aromas, but it is smooth and more drinkable than expected. Moderate, smooth carbonation. Medium to high hops bitterness and strong alcohol presence that is still drinkable. Delicious!

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Photo of bamadog
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the beer that I was able to add to the little tasting shindig that Pete put together. Review is from notes taken on 6/10/2012 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a cloudy coppery color; starts with a huge billowy off-white head; tons of cloudiness in the body; lots of lacing hanging on the sides of the glass, and ultimately summed up in the firm cap resting at the top.

Taste: Tons and tons of mulch wheat, but I have to be honest, the smell of this beer is more reminiscent of whole leaf, moist and sticky tobacco with plant of raisin and fig blending; there is a nice vanilla and oaky sweetness with a bit of the astringency that also comes from the oak adde two more levels of complexity to this already hearty beer and it's big booziness. I'm really please that this was crack with friends, because I feel that if I tried to nurse one of these to myself, it would have ended poorly. A great beer that would be a great dessert beer with nothing else needing to hold up any end or obligation.

Mouthfeel: Body was of medium weight; very warm and boozy; carbonation was rather sot and smooth -- avoided being sharp the entire time.

Overall: This is a sweet beer with a lot going on, and that big ABV would throw your thoughts straight to the hopper if you drink too much and try to think about it. Moderation is certainly key with this bad boy, but I'll say i again, The Bruery has certainly come though.

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Photo of craytonic
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: light cloudy golden yellow pour with a big head
Smell: Bread, bananas, honey, pale malts. Very sweet.
Taste: A bit bready and sweet, heavy on the banana.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body
Overall: Too much alcohol, not really that complex or enjoyable

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Photo of ajm5108
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sharp copper-gold hue, little-to-no head, light carbonation. Aroma is very sweet at first - there is an intense apple cider smell with underlying notes of honey, caramel and Kentucky straight bourbon (which takes more prominence as the beer opens up). Taste also is sweet, with more of a honey presence upfront transistioning into warm bourbon caramel. The apple flavor is there but definitely not as much as it is on the nose. No heat or booziness at the end. It ends up tasting like a barrel-aged hard cider, which is interesting & in my opinion satisfying, but your mileage may vary based on how much you like sweet beers or sweeter bourbon notes. It worked for me though. Mouthfeel is fairly slick, medium-to-light density, maybe could have been a bit fuller but that is more of a nitpick.

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Photo of Pahn
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Split 3 ways.

Appearance: Free pour yields a fluffy, popping white head that dissipates slowly. Pours an opaque lightish orange.

Smell: Musty, kind of Belgian yeast-y. Some mild oak notes. Smells like a really powerful Belgian witbier.

Taste: Very, very bourbony up front, with some light witbier flavor. Funky through the middle, almost as if it had brettanomyces. Dry finish, with tons of oak. Tastes like it's spiced.

Pretty straightforward. Lots of oak flavor. Less wheatwine than "imperial witbier" / Belgian golden ale, barrel aged with a heavy hand. I like it.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Creamy. Dry finish. Really grows on you; sort of subtly balanced, well crafted feel that enhances the flavor.

Overall: Interesting beer. I think it would probably age well. It swings a little bit too far toward witbier for me, but I'm also a sucker for really overdone barrel aging.

I like many of the Bruery's barrel treatments even more than this, but I greatly enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one shared by Andy. Poured into a tulip. This pours a cloudy golden yellow with about an inch of fluffy white head.

Toffee and oak in the aroma with hints of vanilla in the background. Berries and a little bit of spice in the background. Starts of with sweet caramel and rounds out with vanilla and some berries. The bourbon flavor is a little more notable on the pallet than the aroma.

The body is thick and heavy with soft carbonation.

This one is pretty solid. Really enjoyable.

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Photo of jtierney89
4.65/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice and clear brassy hue with very white head that fades away to a thin lace quite quickly. Vinous like nose, notes of white wine, oak, apple and vanilla, soft sweet bourbon notes, touch of alcohol and caramel

Quite a gorgeous beer. Incredibly complex with lots of prickly carbonation despite the strength. Tart ripe apples and stone fruit covered in a light caramel glaze. Soft notes of oak and vanilla with just the right touch of bourbon. A delicate beer like this would be so easily overpowered but sweet bourbony notes come through just a bit on the back end and compliment some of the more savory and richer notes while letting some of the brighter fruit notes still shine. Complex, surprisingly lighter in body than expected. The wheat really creates an incredibly drinkable beer out of such a big one. Alcohol heat is noticeable on the back.end but provides balance to the intense flavors and drys out the finish. Finishes lingers long and is almost tannic in that it scrubs the gums. Very nice, and well worth the bottle cost.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml sent my way by the generous fishbowled, had at our mega Bruery tasting.

Pours a cloudy fresh squeezed apple juice color with about 2 plus fingers of foamy head.

Nose is the most superior aspect of this beer, nice and fruity pear, apple, white grapes, touch of graininess, esters, honey. Fresh yet big and sweet.

Body doesn't seem as integrated, bourbon coming through and not really jiving with the rest of it IMO. Honey sweetness, coconut, vanilla, pear and apple, orange, grains, alcohol shows in the finish too much, pretty hot. Heavy carb which seemed slightly overdone.

Not really bad (in fact, still pretty good) but with all the Bruery beer we had this one was kinda "meh" for me, a bit of a mess that perhaps would integrate better with some time.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy light amber. Outstanding head volume, lacing and retention.

Outstanding complex nose of light bourbon, hints of oak, soft fruit (pear) that is also a bit tart (orange), and a solid background sweetness (biscuit with very subtle caramel). As it warms, grain alcohol notes are present.

Heavy medium body that is quite smooth. Superb carbonation with an effervescent middle and prickly finish.

While similar to the nose, the flavor profile is less bourbon and oak is merely a hint. Sweetness is well balanced. Spicy notes appear in the middle over a rising wheat influence, as does a bit grain alcohol astringency and associated burn. The finish is a slow fade of the middle with alcohol influences gaining strength.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle sent to my by my trustee JRSD. It was allowed to warm some before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

White Oak pours a hazy, slightly dull tangerine. More than three fingers of white foam coalesce atop the beer, and the head displays very good retention. Lacing is fairly spotty though. There's a lot going on in the nose, though nothing's there that i would call a focus, or centerpiece. Notes of coconut, bourbon, oak, fruity booziness, and vanilla all blend together, without anything establishing itself as the primary aroma. The flavor is just a little bit more boozy, with the alcohol soaked fruit and bourbon notes taking over somewhat, and any coconut from the nose being lost. The body is surprisingly light for more than an 11% beer, and it's paired with an overactive carbonation that leaves the beer coming across as way too effervescent for what should be a malt driven beer. White Oak is an alright tasting beer that doesn't rank as one of the Bruery's best offerings.

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Photo of gshak
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2016 edition, at 12.5% ABV. Looks, tastes and feels like an amped-up Weihenstephaner Vitus, albeit at a much higher price. It is only in the smell that we get the barrel notes. A very carbonated, and sugary beer; almost refreshing except for the ABV. First time trying a wheat wine. Worth a try, but unlikely to repeat.

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White Oak from The Bruery
3.94 out of 5 based on 1,307 ratings.
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