Brandy Barrel Ambrosia | Half Acre Beer Company

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11 Ratings

Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company
Illinois, United States

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by benpopper on 05-20-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 11 |  Reviews: 9
Reviews by benpopper:
Photo of benpopper
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the opening party for Craft Beer Week in Chicago, last night 5/19/2011. From notes of the evening.

Poured bright amber, nice and clear in the light with one inch of head that has really good retention. Fades slowly, but never completely dissapates. Leaves light lacing.

The pour smells much more delicate than I remember the normal Ambrosia being. The floral notes were mixed in with the smell of brandy. Again, delicate with a slightly sweet smell.

It tasted much more mellow than the standard version as well. The booze from the brandy is definatly the most prevelant and the sweetness that comes along with it. Some citrus and corrisponding hops is hidden behind it along with the wheat.

Feels suprisingly fresh in the mouth. Light carbonation and smooth drinking. Has a tiny bit of heat on the back end, but much less than I expected.

Overall, I am very happy I got to try it, but it wasn't the beer of the night for me. I really enjoy how Half Acre tends to try different barrel / aging techniques even if they don't produce the best results, I have a feeling it will reap great rewards in the near future.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of iadler
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another bottle for our tasting. 750ml corked bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle 94/108.

A- Pours a hazy amber with a two finger head that leaves some lines of lacing

S- Very subtle with some burnt caramel, orange zest, peppery spice, some earthy oak, and a bit of sweet malt

T- Taste follows the aroma with caramel, orange and lemon zest, spices, sweet malt, oak and a bit of brandy.

M- Medium carbonation and light to medium body. Easy to drink.

O- The aroma and taste of this beer were too subtle. It was certainly not bad, but nothing really stood out about this. Not sure if the brandy really enhanced this beer. I'm glad I was able to grab a bottle of this atleast to share.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist! Extra special thanks to the crew at HA for the hook up!

Name Brandy Ambrosia
Process Brandy Bbl Finish
Time 4-11
Bottle 105/108

A: Took some effort to get the cork out but was greeted with a loud 'pop' when it released. Pours a hazy burnt orange/caramel brown color with loads of suspended sediment. Retention was fleeting but I got tons of lacey curtains stuck to the glass. Just like the Brandy Barrel Crusch, there was some sediment that got trapped on top and hung around for the duration.

S: The brandy is there but acts more as a catalyst to accentuate the aromas of the base beer. That being said, we found this to be radically different than regular Ambrosia. Aromas were more earthy and herbal. A little vanilla, allspice, and peach too.

T: Very close to above with more emphasis on spice. White pepper and allspice. Grape and green apple make an appearance one it comes up to temp as does the brandy. Herbal, dried wildflower and toasty wheat.

M: A brief bit of solvent alcohol quickly settles into a middle that becomes smooth and then dry. Finishes spicy with a bit of prickle.

O: Just a bit more fully realised than Brandy Barrel Crusch in the mouthfeel category. I know comparing these two styles is like comparing apples to oranges, but this was a joint release so cut me some slack. Excellent! What barrel aged goodies do they have in the pipeline? Bring it.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.06/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Sean! Decided to do a side-by-side of unusual brandy barrel releases with this and BA Superfly.

A - Orange-brown beer with a bit of a white head, some spots left on the sides.

S - Smells like a wheat beer with oak and brandy.

T - This tastes like watered down brandy. Nothing else to say.

M - Light, carbonated.

O - Not sure what they were going for here, but if it was just brandy-lite, they hit the jackpot. Doesn't taste bad, but get about the same effect by putting ice in my brandy.

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Photo of cadaugherty
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Sean9689
2.98/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle given to me by Half Acre while waiting in line for the Galactic Daisy Cutter release. Split with the usual suspects and poured into my Narke tulip.

A - Pours a orange/brown color, hazy, thin filmy cap, thin collar, some spotty lacing along the sides of the glass.

S - Light wheat, straw, slight booze, oak. All very light and subtle, not much going on here. A very light beer to begin with so the brandy and oak character overtake the base.

T - Like brandy water. Seriously, if you wanted some brandy but didn't want all that alcohol, this is the beer for you. Watered down brandy, plain and simple. Oak, brandy...uh...water?

M - Light, good carbonation, crisp and refreshing.

O - Well, it's easy to it's got that going for it. Brandy, oak, and some light beer that you can't really taste anymore. Meh, it's a rare tick, but gotta pass on this one...just average, at best.

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Photo of spdyfire83
3.17/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

121st Review
Bottle to snifter
Bottle 94/108

From notes. Thanks to iadler for contributing this to our tasting.

A: Murky, soft copper. Single (white) fingernail head on gentle pour.

S: Fruity/floral notes with a lot of cracked wheat. Hint of sweet brandy and burnt caramel.

T: Mostly just a wheat beer here with a touch of brandy and oak. Not much to write home about. Sweet malt and caramel come thru as it warms a bit.

M: Light bodied with medium carbonation.

O: A very crisp beer that smells better than it tastes. Can definitely tell it hit a brandy barrel for a bit. I have not enjoyed the regular (so no comparison there), but it is slightly above average for the style.

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Photo of Treebs
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Maria's Package Goods and Community Bar during Chicago Craft Beer Week.

A: Poured a light orange with little to no head. Just a slight film on the top.

S: A very fruity smell comes off with nice yeast back note to fill it out. Also some flowers come to mind with the hops represented.

T: Classic yeast wheat taste with a nice citrus note up front. Nice sweetness of some apples and on the back end with a wood chip like quality to the end.

M: Incredibly smooth. Very light for being barrel aged and coats the tongue with a nice sweet yeast that has some run-off from the brandy barrel.

O: An incredibly complex beer that is also so simple at the same time. Half Acre never disappoints and this another one of those types of works of art. If you like pale ales with a sweet back drop over a pronounced wheat forefront, please try this.

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

On-tap at Hopleaf for $3(!!) a tulip.

A - Looks nearly identical to regular Ambrosia, but with a big-bubbled head that's about half as high. Thick collar of bubbles, spotty lace and a hazy dark orange-brown body.

S - Brandy-soaked apples and grapes, hibiscus, light oak, some vague herbs and floral notes.

T - Taste has more similarity to the base beer than The Crusch did. Light wheat and malt sweetness, along with some yeast. Brandy adds some fruity sweetness and white grape character. Less spirit alcohol than The Crusch as well.

M - Smooth medium body, medium carbonation. Gets a bit watery, but finishes fairly clean.

D - I found this to be the superior of the two brandy barrel experiments, and I thought this was actually a marked improvement on the base beer. Still, I find it odd that Half Acre is aging these lower ABV beers in barrels - is this to get around the illegality of pouring spirits directly into beers? At only three weeks in a barrel, there's going to be negligible wood flavor and all brandy. In any case the brandy served to be Procrustean, bringing down The Crusch, but elevating Ambrosia.

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Photo of Florida9
3.08/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Cloudy dark amber in color. Forms a large off-white head that reduces down to a thin surface coating. There is some light lacing.

S: Woody, earthy, and some dirt. A little brandy and a light tartness.

T: Typical wheat beer, now with a light tannic bitterness and some light wood notes. However, in all actuality this beer is incredibly lightly flavored. Not necessarily flavorless, but not too far from it.

M: Light to medium in body. Decent carbonation. Very mild bitterness.

O: Not really sure this base beer needed to see the inside of a barrel and I don't see how it was improved. From my perspective, the beer seems to have lost all of the hibiscus and the freshness, and gained nothing in return.

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Brandy Barrel Ambrosia from Half Acre Beer Company
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 11 ratings