The Bruery

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Old Ale
4.01 | pDev: 12.22%
The Bruery
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 173 | Ratings: 392 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep brown beer topped by a dense and rocky finger of light tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of intense dark fruits with some toffee. Slight oak and vanilla as well. It was surprisingly oaky at first but as it gets some air a little more starts to come out on the nose. The fruits almost smell like stewed fruits.
T: Taste is toasted malts, oak, intense dark fruits with a little spice, vanilla, and brown sugar sweetness. Almost an umami flavor at times with a hint of molasses. On the swallow there's more toasted malts, dark fruits, caramel, toffee, oak, spice, and lingering bourbon barrel with a touch of vanilla.
M: This beer is big and silky on the palate. Carbonation is on the low end but it is there and adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this beer was mindblowing the first time I had it back in late 2010-2011. The beer has great balance and a ton of intense flavors that have held up well. The cap didn't show any signs of absorbing oxygen and there are no flavors of oxidation despite this beer being over nine years old.

Jun 23, 2019
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Phil-Fresh from California

4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


A: Lots of toffee/caramel aroma with a light barrel presence.

A: Deep brown color, opaque, with a thin tan head that dissipates into the glass.

T: Lots of rich toffee/caramel like malts, light dried fruits, with a moderate barrel presence and slightly sweet finish.

M: Full bodied with light carbonation. The alcoholic strength is noticeable, but quite smooth.

O: Awesome; the beer doesn’t exhibit nearly as much oxidation and drinks very smooth.

May 24, 2017
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.36/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

2010 vintage; drank 4/1/16 @ Harvest Hop Haus.

Opaque brown/purple appearance.

Small khaki head; minimal lace.

Burnt caramel & sour brandy notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Sour brandy & caramel flavors up front; light heat. Not sure if this infected, oxidized or what, but something's gone wrong. A mess.

Jan 11, 2017
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mschrei from Illinois

4.56/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Damn good beer. Poured into snifter. Beautiful mahogany colors with very healthy lacing. Deep dark fruit scents. Smooth, dark fruit flavors, and the alcohol has mellowed with age, even with a very palpable barrel presence.

Jul 01, 2016
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floyd_pugman from California

4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted at the Bruery 5/19/16. Nose of raisons and slight cayenne pepper. Palate of rich caramel, pepper, and dark fruits. Still some brown sugar, but has matured and caramelized. Really nice.

May 20, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.54/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Brown pour with a solid 3/5" tan head, mild retention. The aroma is massively boozy. Some wood notes. But the alcohol dominates.

Taste has a warming feel, oak, vanilla, caramel and toffee notes. Hot and complex like a model who is a rocket scientist. Have had it fresh, seems to have gotten better with age, but ultimately, this is one of the lesser anniversary beers from Bruery, nowhere near as good as Fruet.

May 05, 2016
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cvm4 from Mississippi

3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #08357

L - Pours a muddled brown body with a tan one finger head. I was happy to hear the hiss from the bottle as I pried the cap off. The head dissipates in a modest amount of time and leaves no lacing.

S - Smells sweet overall with notes of caramel, brown sugar, figs and raisins. Faint oak barrel.

T - Whoa... Caramelized brown sugar hits you in the palette. Barrel notes are faint. Dark stone fruits show up. Warming alcohol sensation on the ending.

F - Medium to full bodied and light carbonation. Has a wet finish.

O - Still delicious and not going downhill yet, IMO. Could be at its prime, guess we'll know in the future.

Mar 15, 2016
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stakem from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottled that I purchased off the shelf in Pennsylvania roughly 5 years ago and cellared until now. Poured into a matching Bruery snifter it appears a brown color with a khaki head a finger strong that fades holding in a thin film.

Aroma is sweet like caramel candy, raisons, grapes and plums with a soft hint of alcohol that becomes more solvent feeling as it warms up.

Taste is fruit and mildly vinous with an herbal bitterness that lasts and almost has a faint dry oaked note. The booziness is enjoyable with a hint of leather, earth and something along the lines of cocoa.

This is medium to full bodied with moderate to lighter carbonation. Very enjoyable and just starting to show its age. I wish I had more of these because its pretty damn awesome and I think it has legs to go a few more years.

Side note: Yesterday I opened the younger anniversary bottling Cuir and it tasted older than this one with more oxidative character. I recapped the bottle and actually enjoyed it more on day 2. This bottle of Coton tastes like a less oxidized day 2 opened Cuir if that makes any sense.

Jan 11, 2016
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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bruery Coton, 2010 vintage, consumed in July 2015. Boozy, hot, beautiful. Raisins, sweetness galore, barrel... it's all there. It's been said before indeed, but this beer (and other similar brews from Bruery) are more akin to wines than beer itself. Sort of like a twenty-year-old Porto or Pedro Ximenez. Drinkable despite the brutal ABV, but still a sipper. Five years on the bottle, and still good and delicious. I love Old Ales!

Sep 16, 2015
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Beersnake1 from California

4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Five year old bottle. Got this bottle from the archive sale. Very excited to try this! Poured at 48 degrees and allowed to warm in a Bruery taster. The nose is very nice, but not overpowering. Very nutty, some caramel, with some dark fruit. A bit of a syrupy smell comes through. Not as aromatically overwhelming as fresh anniversary ales, but also not 100% barrel-aged. Taste follows the nose. Slight oxidation evident, but still phenomenal. I can tell it has some age, and it's nice and smooth. It has some quad qualities - the nuttiness reminds me of a Three Philosophers with some age. The caramel doesn't come through as much as I thought it would from the nose, but it's there. Overall, this is a very nice beer. Glad I cracked it before it aged too much longer.

Aug 31, 2015
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ShanePB from Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle. Cloudy brownish, red body with a thin tan head with a bit of retention. Aromas are wet cardboard, dark fruits (plums, prunes), candied caramel. On the palate, the oxidized aroma is not as pronounced but hints of it are present. The center flavors are the rich, sweet dark fruits followed on the back-end by a big caramel malt backbone. Good, but certainly open these bottles now if you're hanging onto them. I cannot see this going anywhere but downhill.

Aug 17, 2015
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timc100 from Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Cellared by the Bruery

There is some definite oxidation but it is working well. Lot of that soft vanilla, sherry, pale oak oxidation with sturdy toasted toffee, caramel, brown sugar old ale. On the palate there is a lot of the soft vanilla, sherry, some oak. A lot drier than the current anny vintages.

Showing its age, but still enjoyable

Jul 26, 2015
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Alieniloquium from Florida

4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep amber body. Medium khaki head. Leggy. Medium collar.

Smell - Very oaky. A little acidic. Oxidized, too. Sherry. Deep brown sugar.

Taste - Sweeter than it smells. Lots of brown sugar and caramel. Sherry-like oxidation. Sharp woody flavor.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Not boozy, though. Well carbonated.

Overall - I love these beers. This one has a perfect amount of age on it, too.

Jan 04, 2015
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draheim from Washington

3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750mL (bottle 07301) into a snifter. Pours a hazy brown mahogany w/ a minimal khaki head.

Aroma is sweet and sugary. Caramel, brown sugar, dried dates and figs, and light booze.

Taste is likewise sweet, sugary, and fruity. Lots of caramelized brown sugars followed by sweet bourbon that warms the back of the throat. Toffee, red grapes and just a hint of sour cherry. Oak seems lost in the other flavors, although only 25% spent any time in a barrel. Some Port wine character especially as it warms, as other reviewers have noted.

Mouthfeel is sticky, almost syrupy. Lingering aftertaste.

Overall a huge sipper of a beer but it's lacking some of the complexity of The Bruery's later anniversary beers. Maybe this one is on its way downhill. Glad I got to try it but I wouldn't pay the premium for another bottle.

Sep 01, 2014
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mhaugo from California

4.59/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

5oz draft pour in a snifter. 14.5% ABV.

Appearance: Chestnut brown, slightly cloudy, with a light cap of beige foam (4/5).

Aroma: Sweet bourbon, vanilla, jammy Port wine, brown sugar, molasses, a little black pepper, and a hint of oak (5/5).

Taste: I have never tasted any beer that more closely resembles a Port than this. Very interesting. This flavor is then laced with sweet sugars and dark pitted fruits (primarily cherry) (4.5/5).

Mouthfeel: Full body with low carbonation. Beautiful warmth from the alcohol (4.5/5)

Overall: This was The Bruery’s second anniversary ale, which I guess makes it a little over three years old at this point. I had it at their Taproom, and appreciate how lovingly they have seen it into maturity. It’s an incredible example of what the “big” end of this style can be, with a very distinct and mature flavor and aroma. It’s also an exciting example of the “Solera” method, where the same beer is created year-after-year and previous vintages are blended into it for layers of depth and complexity. I guess for this version only Papier (1st anniversary) is in the mix, but it’s nice to know that some of what I’m drinking will be around for a long time. From my understanding, similar techniques were used in historical Old Ale making. I could drink it all day if it wouldn’t make me dead (4.5/5).

Apr 19, 2014
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

2.85/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

2010 vintage. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with stickered-over unbranded pry-off pressure cap and intricate appealing label art acquired at a CA bottle shop and served into an Odell stem-tulip/snifter hybrid glass in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its reputation and current 89 rating. Bottle #04167. 14.5% ABV confirmed.

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

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of light khaki colour. Decent creaminess and thickness. Smooth even consistency. Somewhat soft complexion. Retention is pretty decent for the ABV - about 3 minutes. No real lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a really dark opaque brown. Not vibrant or particularly appealing. No floating yeast particles are visible.

Overall, it ain't much to look at. I'm starting to have my doubts. Not unique or special. There are no egregious flaws here.

Sm: Vinous booze. Brown malts and booze. Faded fruits - maybe depleted cherries, and bourbon notes - especially vanilla. Sweet bready character. Alcohol isn't really hidden too well at all. Syrups. Musty wood (but not rich toasty oak or anything particularly pleasing).

An intimidating aroma of average strength.

T: Brown malts, marshmallow, vanilla, faint bourbon, musty wood, biscuit malt, some vinous character, faded candi sugars, fruitcake, rum/sugarcane, caramel, and raisin.

Needs far more complexity, subtlety, intricacy and nuance. The bourbon is way too tame. It's overly boozy and hot for what it is. Not a well balanced beer. Has some loose cohesion, but is far from gestalt.

Average depth and duration of flavour. Above average intensity of flavour.

No yeast character or hop character comes through.

Mf: Carbonation has left this "beer." Smooth and wet, though it has an unbecoming dryness in places. Thick as hell. A biteen syrupy. Chewy. Has a heavy body. Presence on the palate is imposing. It can fairly be called boozy and hot. Unrefreshing. Doesn't suit the flavour profile especially well.

Not oily, gushed, or astringent.

Dr: A sipper if I ever tried one, Coton is nigh but impossible to kill alone. My companion and I will likely struggle to reach the bottom of the bottle. I can't say I'm a big fan of it. Far from The Bruery's best work. I wouldn't get it again or recommend it to friends. I don't see what all the fuss is about. A pretty disappointing brew across the board.

Far from a world class old ale. More of a boozy faux-liqueur. If this is how it drinks with age, it was likely intolerable fresh.

It opens up considerably with warmth. I would've initially given it a 'C-', but it graduates to a C.


Dec 15, 2013
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mentor from Colorado

3.67/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aged in my cellar since it was fresh on shelves. Pours a thin fizzy layer that disappears and is fed by aggressive streamers. Clear dark amber-brown liquid. Smells strongly of caramel oxidation, toffee, dried dark fruits (prune, tamarind), leathery, soothing bourbon, ivory soap, chocolate, sugary oak, cherry biscuit, clean alcohol sting. Complex, though not particularly intense.

Tastes lighter malt than I was expecting, and not as sweet. It's sweet, but not sticky. Has tall oak, raisiny bourbon, vanilla that's over-run by wood astringency mixed with strong clean alcohol. Fig, cherry, slightly burnt home-made candy brittle, flat discount-cola. The beer's attempt to be wet sweet is swept clear by prickly alcohol that dries the tongue and warms my belly. Closes with a pear-syrup sweetness with a dusting of chocolate and light-colored caramel. This beer reminds me of 2005 BA Old Salty from Heavyweight Brewing. A bit more alcohol and not quite as estery and malty sweet. Medium in the mouth, but has a creamy dextrine quality. Modest carbonation. Rum raisiny goodness. Overall quite nice, but a bit to zippy hot alcohol for my preference. The alcohol will likely help this beer if aged further, but I think this one has a maximum of two years left according to my preferences.

Jul 25, 2013
Photo of ehammond1

3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle (2010)

The Bruery
Placentia, CA

(Aged for 3 years)

Muddy brown and very dark ambers. Small amount of visible carbonation--just a small ring of tiny bubbles near the edges of the glass. Leaves the glass oily.

Sweet aroma of melted sugars and caramels. Sticky toffee pudding along with a hint of bourbon barrel. The sweetest aroma of any of the anniversary flight beers.

The flavor follows the aroma. This is, fairly significantly, the sweetest of the Bruery anniversary flight. Melted Sugar Daddy caramel candies, some butterscotch, a bit of bourbon barrel, and just a tiny bit of chocolate muffin. Tasty.

Near full in body with low carbonation.

Very tasty, but I don't think this one has anywhere left to improve.

May 30, 2013
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BRANDY818 from California

3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank. The beer is retired but they had an aged keg.

It was a little murky looking with a caramel color and a head that couldn't wait to vanish.

Smell is very winey. Strong.

Interesting flavors of malty grain and hot booze.

Nice heavy mouthfeel that made this a slow sipper.

Glad I tried it and fun to share with friends, but I never even considered ordering another.

Apr 15, 2013
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rapidsequence from Virginia

4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle. I bought this at Beer Run when it was released in 2010 for $21.

Appearance: Pours hazy brown, but when held to light, is actually pretty clear, and a deep dark garnet color. Hard pour yields a bit of off white head with minimal retention.

Smell: Rich, sweet malt and fruit. Raisins and dates, dried peaches and/or apricots. Some oxidation notes. Vanilla notes from the boubon, and some alcohol smell.

Taste: Super sweet with lots of complexity. Insane amounts of fruit flavor and considerable alcohol bite. Similar to port of sherry. Finish yields the bourbon, a bit of roast, and a long, warming boozy kiss.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy, low carbonation.

Overall: I like it quite a bit. Its really sweet though, and that gets a little old. SImilar to the Fruet I drank at Christmas, but less bourbony.

Mar 26, 2013
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jvillefan from New York

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

A: A hazy brown body with a ivory/brown head.

S: Bourbon and deep malt aroma. There is a pleasant alcohol bite.

T: Sweet malt and bourbon flavors with a nice alcohol bite.

M: Amazing body with a great carbonation bite.

O: Amazing beer. Worth actively seeking this beer out.

Feb 23, 2013
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claspada from New Jersey

3.52/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruddy brown color with light red hues along the edges and really no head to speak of but there is some solid lacing if your swirl this in the glass.

Aromas begin with tons of caramel, toffee, vanilla and oak. There is some dark fruits and molasses with some emerging spirit and alcohol.

The tastes begin with warming alcohol which transitions into the toffee and caramel maltiness. There is a super sweet candy maltiness and some maple syrup flavors as well with some light darker fruits as it warms. The sweetness and alcohol are still fairly present even after the 2-3 years in the bottle.

Mouthfeel is fairly full bodied with a very little amount of carbonation. Finish is fairly biting from the alcohol and fairly sweet.

Overall I cannot recommend this beer as each year they come out with a new one that is more balanced and less alcoholic thanks to the solara blending method they use. The overly abrasive alcohol and borderlining cloying nature make this a fairly big miss for me. Cuir was such an improvement as was Fruet so I can only assume this year's Bois will be even better.

Jan 07, 2013
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NorCalYeti from California

3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

big beer. poured cloudy (unfiltered). frothy, white, irridescent, broken bubbly thin head. good amount of lace. at first impression, everything about the beer reminded me of vintage bigfoot. pumpkin and allspice in the nose and taste. i'm not picking up a lot of barrel aged influence on the beer, sadly. beer is alcoholic and has a warming feel when consumed. really interesting astringent quality on the upper gums in the mouth. beer really opens up and expands in the mouth as you spend more time with it. roasted meat aromas and flavors, a sugary component to the taste prevails, waxy feel at the top of the palate. prickly feel at the front of the tongue. tart citrus fruit and cigar smoke. interesting beer. for $35.99, i'd save my money for something else but glad i had a chance to try it.

Sep 30, 2012
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JoEBoBpr from Missouri

3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.
Bottle: 6369

Pours a murky and muddy mahogany color with soem orange amber edges. There is a thin quarter inch head that forms that is light tan and recedes fairly quickly.

Aroma starts off with some slight sour or maybe briny notes, some leather and tobacco notes as well. There is some sweetness in the back and some Bourbon as well. Slight honey notes. There is some toffee and molasses notes but that briny note kind of turns me off a bit.

Flavor starts off with some dark fruits. Prunes and some nice molasses and toffee sweetness. There is some leathery notes as well in the flavor but these are less noticeable in the taste. Sweet notes of bourbon as well with some slight oaky notes as well. Mouthfeel is smooth and oily with lower carbonation.

OK Old Ale. not my favorite out there and The Bruery has some better ones out there. Still its a tasty.

Sep 25, 2012
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kawilliams81 from Illinois

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

A- Pours a nice ruby color with a 2 finger tan head. Leopard spots of lacing remain on the glass.

S- Has some Worcestershire just like Cuir does, leather

T- Worcestershire, some spices, and sweet amber malts.

M- Full body and medium carbonation. Slightly syrupy.

O- Liked this better than Cuir, but still had that weird Worcestershire character to it.

Aug 15, 2012
Coton from The Bruery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 392 ratings