The Bruery

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Old Ale
4.01 | pDev: 11.97%
The Bruery
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 173 | Ratings: 390 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by JohneHoodlum:
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JohneHoodlum from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -0.2%

Sep 02, 2012
More User Reviews:
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oglmcdgl from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the hulmeville inn. Way to go steve, the new philly beer geek.

A- comes to me in a mini pilsner type glass with no head just a faint ring and a wisp or two on top. Murky orange brown in color that glows yellow at the edges in the sunlight.

S- sherry and sweet candied fruit. Burnt brown sugar and caramel.

T- sweet cream sherry soaked stone fruit and caramelized turbinado sugar. Toasted honey wheat bread with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. More spice in the back with cloves studded oranges and spiced cider.

M- thickish and chewy viscous mouthfeel, coats the palate with sweetness. Lite carb just a small fizz after a bit. There is some heat but with some time I think it will clam down.

D- well its damn near 15 abv and super sweet but its not cloying the touch of heat burns the sweet just right.

Jul 18, 2010
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PG2G from California

3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jun 13, 2015
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augustgarage from California

3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750mL bottle into my Bruery tulip. Bottle #04039.

Clear rosewood body with bright alizarin crimson highlights and a ropy malestrom of buff foam which subsides to a wasps nest of a collar and a dusty swirling surface slick.

Stewed fruit, nectarines, prunes, figs, and dried blueberries in the nose. A mildly fusel bourbon scent emerges on the tail end, with hints of caramel, cheap tobacco, wheat, and butterscotch.

Rather sweet on the palate with all the corresponding flavors to the aroma, with the addition of more sugar, a touch of vanilla, a very mild bitterness with hints of candied ginger and candied grapefruit zest, and an element of brandy from the bourbon barrel taking hold of the dark fruit notes.

Velvety, medium-thick, with low but decent carbonation. The heat is a bit much for the style, and makes certain fruit notes take on a subtle medicinal aspect (sort of like cherry flavored cough syrup).

I expect this could stand to be laid down for several years - one imagines the Bruery planning a decades long vertical of anniversary ales...though this beer seems like it was brewed more with that in mind than with creating something to be enjoyed in the present.

Oct 16, 2010
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Fitzmke from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Mar 07, 2012
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rye726 from Colorado

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not really sure why this is $22 a bottle when only a quarter of it is barrel aged. Give me a fucking break Bruery. But a nice example of the style that should age well.

Pours a rusty, stained mahogany. Silky tan head, nice lace.

Nose has dark pitted fruits, caramel, toffee, vanilla, cocoa, molasses, peppery alcohol and a hint whiskey.

Taste is a bit more complex. Quite sweet, but I like it. Figs, dates, plums, rich candy malts, subtle hops, spicy alcohol and tart fresh cherries. Subtle, well balanced bourbon presence.

Full body is delicately carbonated. Drinks well considering size and age.

Jun 30, 2010
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kennethkearns from New York

3/5  rDev -25.2%

Jul 10, 2012
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Halcyondays from California

3.26/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a red-brown, with a soft off-white head, good retention and nice lace.

S: Dark fruit, booze and rum soaked prunes and raisins, brown sugar.

T: Heavy on the dark fruit and Belgian character. The beer is incredibly boozy and raw, Virgin Papier was but the flavours were more integrated, this one is a bit all over the place. Nice flavours of nuts/pecans/Brazil nuts in the finish which I liked with some oak notes.

M: Medium/full bodied, there is some thinness on the palate, some EtOH on the finish/burn.

D: This beer is extremely young, a beer that needs to be put away until 2020 to be truly drinkable and complex.

Edit 10/3/10, I got to revisit this beer at The Bruery provisions store. The heat has died down considerably, the fruitiness has come out and more to the forefront, a lot tastier. I'm pleased with the amount of improvement this beer has had in only 5 months.

May 29, 2010
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ber12 from Texas

4.25/5  rDev +6%

Jan 03, 2014
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Overlord from California

3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

**This beer was significantly better from the bottle. Probably would have bumped it into the 4.0-4.15 range. But, I almost never repeat review, so just adding the note here.

Thanks to the Bruery for putting on a great event.

Pours an orange-ish brown. Some chunks of white froth, but no real head.

Smells strangely earthy, with brown sugar, harsh caramel, and a bit of .... ripe fruits ... to the nose. Hmm.... oddly alcohol-y and harsh. Just raw at the moment. A Bruery employee mentioned it may need a few months and I definitely think that will help.

The taste of Coton, similarly to Overlord's love, is rough edged and harsh. Wow. In your face booziness and alcohol heat, some citrus rind and pith, a bit of dates and other dark fruits, overwhelming boozy caramel and brown sugar. Does not really have the complexity of its big brother, BA Coton, but is a pretty multi-dimensional brew in its own rights.

Mouthfeel appropriate.

May 24, 2010
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bentonquest from New York

4/5  rDev -0.2%

Jul 05, 2012
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crashlimo from Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle(#01746)

Generally I find old ales to be rather hit or miss (mostly miss). However this has to be one of the most surprising and deliciously complex brews I've ever encountered (I am confused by some of the previous reviews)

Pours an dark orange brown with minimal head.

Smells sweet with notes of caramel and dark fruit, and perhaps some brown sugar (not overwhelmingly boozy for the ABV).

It has a very complex and intense flavor that requires some serious gustatory analysis upon first sip. Citrus rind and dark fruit are most prominant with a wonderful sweet caramel finish. Booziness seems extremely well tamed considering the 14.5%, contrary to prior accounts (I can only imagine it has aged well)

I absolutely loved this beer, as each sip presented a new dimension of flavor. If it wouldn't destroy my liver I could drink this all day

Aug 18, 2010
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redfox405 from California

5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oct 17, 2016
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pest from Ohio

4/5  rDev -0.2%

Nov 23, 2011
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SocalKicks from California

3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Dec 21, 2013
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champ103 from Texas

4.61/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark and murky reddish/brown color. A minimal brown head forms, and sticks around as a ring. Very little lace is left behind.
S: Toasted malts, toffee and chocolate. Dark fruits of fig, cherries, and plums. A tart green apple aroma as well. Light vanilla and oak. Really complex and awesome.
T: Follows the nose. A large toasted malt flavor up front. Sweet toffee, vanilla, and chocolate. Dark fruits, and a great green apple tartness lingers. Dry oak as well.
M/D: A full body and low carbonation. Velvety smooth and decadent. So easy to drink. The high alcohol is extremely well hidden. I can sip on this all day.

This is really exceptional. A huge beer, that has incredible nuance and balance. Something that is harder and harder to find these days. Highly recommended.

Jul 19, 2010
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jarrgal from North Dakota

4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Oct 19, 2013
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pwoods from Ohio

3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kels for sharing.

750ml capped brown bottle poured into a RR glass.

A: Pours deep woody brown with strong ruby highlights. Moderate head on the pour with little retention and only a bit of lacing.

S: Alcohol is strong but not stinging. Lots of tart fruitiness. Malts and oak.

T/M: A fair bit of alcohol, nice and warming. Lots of fruitiness with the alcohol, somewhat sweet but still a distinct tartness. Plenty of caramel and toffee malts. Some barrel notes add a nice touch. Carbonation is low and smooth. Body is nearly full.

D: 14.5% is a bit surprising even with the present alcohol. Pretty drinkable for it's size.

Jan 02, 2011
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Aisha from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -0.2%

Jan 18, 2014
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jkane101 from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +6%

Jun 05, 2013
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MSandahl23 from Indiana

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

Feb 09, 2015
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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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NHhomebrewguy from New Hampshire

4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jan 17, 2016
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap @ Armsby Abbey

Large beefy frothy head fades slowly with a sticky lacing, dark but clear mahogany brown copper color

Nose nice bourbon, some woody aromas, some dark crystal malts, dark sweet barleywine like aromas, brown sugar molasses, little nutty

Taste semi sweet, wood, bourbon, sweet brown sugar, burnt molasses and malts, bit of minerality, sweet dark malts barleywine like, hint of smoke and nutty, bit of cinnamon, plenty of warming booze especially as it warms, light Belgiany dark fruit. Finishes with a long slightly syrupy and boozy finish, with lingering dark sweet malts and a bit of bourbon.

Mouth is semi syrupy and heavier, with decent carbonation.

Drink is meh, plenty booze and it has a bit of a bitter iffy burnt minerality taste, as well as being syrupy.

Jan 11, 2011
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HopsintheSack from California

3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

May 23, 2013
Coton from The Bruery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 390 ratings