Billy The Mountain | Upright Brewing Company

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Billy The MountainBilly The Mountain
108 Ratings
Billy The MountainBilly The Mountain

Brewed by:
Upright Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Inspired by the great Prize Old Ale once brewed by Gales in England, this beer is deeply malty and full of ripe fruit, leather, wine and oak flavors. The Billy is partially barrel aged with brettanomyces yeast, lending a distinct twang and developing unique aromas over time. Bottled still and best served at about 55F to be finished at room temperature. Cellar for up to five years.

"Billy the Mountain - A traditional English-style Old Ale, having undergone over five months of oak barrel aging and another several months in the bottle."

Malts: organic pale, ashburne mild, caramel
Unmalted: black barley
Also: molasses
Yeasts: London ESB and brettanomyces clausennii

First Release - January 2010
Second Release - January 2011
Third Release - December 2011

Added by jdense on 12-23-2009

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 108 |  Reviews: 38
Photo of corywalston
2.64/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.04/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

IMHO, this improves with years in the bottle. Several years on and the harshness and edges of it melds together in a musty leaves and fall forest underbrush sort of way.

 169 characters

Photo of jason_nwx
3.77/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Erik-P
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of biboergosum
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml, surprisingly unwaxed capped bottle (@8% ABV), shared once again by a good beery friend. So, there's a mountain named Billy? Or is 'billy' used in a verb context with which I am unfamiliar?

This beer pours a dark, murky, orange-tinted brown colour, with two fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and well bubbly beige head, which leaves some approaching land-ho profile lace around the glass as it lazily recedes.

It smells of sour red fruit (cherries and plums, mostly), gooey caramel malt, further nougaty toffee, gritty brown sugar, an edgy yeastiness, tanned leather, and a subtle burbling booziness. The taste is grainy and doughy caramel malt, biscuity toffee squares, bittersweet cocoa powder, gently acerbic and woody red wine, a further lemon/apple tart fruitiness, thin demerara syrup, musty leather, and a very tame earthy, weedy, and dead floral verdant hoppiness.

The carbonation is quite laid-back in its bored-seeming frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and more or less smooth, just a wee bit of indistinct yeasty esters maybe not bringing their polite A-game, as such. It finishes off-dry, the rich underlying malt still contending with a sour fruity character that intends on pulling on that loose thread of the sweater.

Overall, this is certainly a flavourful and well-made brew, yet, even with the big-boy barrel effects, it lacks that oxidized, 'under the basement stairs in the house you grew up in' vibe, y'know? I'm sort of nitpicking, but sort of not - at any rate, check this one out if you want to see what an Old Ale blended with some Flanders Red Ale would be like.

 1,611 characters

Photo of FFreak
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2016 vintage poured into a wine glass. Dark coca-cola brown, with a thin, coarse head. Aroma is reminiscent of a flanders sour with hints of cherries and brown sugar. Taste is somewhat complex, sour and astringent with cherries and Coca-Cola. Mouth is thin and dry. Overall, an interesting beer, but not very easy drinking.

 328 characters

Photo of Dizzy242
3.94/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of KimenTshom
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of beergoot
3.59/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark mahogany body color; thick, rocky, beige head. Figs and dates make the bulk of the aroma; roasted grain notes; slight bourbon character; fruity; raspberries. Wild yeast, sour-like flavor; twinge of chocolate; some sulfur-like notes; fair hop bitterness. Medium body; vinous.

Great looks and aroma don't necessarily make for a great beer. There's nothing exceptionally wrong with the beer, yet it the flavor lacks the depth and balanced complexity to make this beer really stand out. The overall flavor comes across more like a sour wine with a relatively weak body. The saving grace, taste-wise, is there is some dark, roasted grain flavors. Not a must-have, but worth a shot (even if only for the sly Frank Zappa name reference)...

 738 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of EB1
3.56/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Sanderson
4.49/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is what an old ale would probably taste like it brewed to actual style and thrown in a barrel. Natural barrel bugs, sweet but dry, but a little thin on the feel.

 166 characters

Photo of cfh64
3.03/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Photo of Dicers
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of pgreenx
4.43/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Age has been kind to this beer; the Brett charter has brought dark fruits fwd while imparting leather and English saddle to nose

128 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.45/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2010 bottle, batch 1.

Appearance - Cloudy murky pond water looking brown body. Big off-white head. Thick chunky collar.

Smell - Huge molasses aroma. A little acidic. Kinda bretty. Mostly molasses.

Taste - Bretty and lightly tart. Lots of molasses, but no real sweetness. Kinda nutty. Caramel and a brighter, just lightly tart finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy body. High carbonation.

Overall - This is a lot better than I remember it. I just remember an acetic mess last time I had a bottle. This has a much more controlled brett flavor with an enormous amount of molasses.

 626 characters

Photo of IowaBiertrinker
4.25/5  rDev +18.7%

Photo of CFL
4.64/5  rDev +29.6%

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

For my 2,500th rating/review I'm going with my favorite style: old ale--a bottle I picked up from the brewery in 2012.

2011 bottle. Spent 1 1/2 years in cellar temp, 1 year in cold fridge

Pours a deep chestnut brown and mahogany. Clean and bright. Off tan head is dense, thick and gooey. 1 finger depth. Looks like a nitro pour, but it ain't. Sticky, creamy lacing

Aroma is sharp orchard fruit. Red apple skin and pulp. Nothing too complex, going to let it warm up a bit. Perhaps a bit of oxidation as hints of cherry come through. Booze is present, but falls short of being obtrusive. Fruit is main attraction here, with hints of acidity and tannin. Seems a bit closer to a Belgian dubbel, without the sweetness. This beer is becoming...odd as the tartness turns more to sourness

At first sip the red apple transfers to a dark grape or berry. Carbonation is noticeable, which is good as it distracts from the booze and the tartness of some of those fruits. Shows borderline infection, but not enough to declare it so.

Feel is good, but for the style would like to see less carbonation

 1,091 characters

Photo of Phelps
3.34/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip.

Murky cola-brown, with almost no head. Not a lot of carbonation here. A glassful of mud.

This doesn't smell much like an old ale -- more like an oud bruin. Nice cola sweetness, brown sugar, toffee, a bit of sour cherry.

Caramel, toffee and alcohol in the front, plus touches of vanilla and dark chocolate. The swallow brings a flash of sour cherries and a hint of balsamic. Some sips are great, a nice blend of sweet and sour. Others are too sour. Tartness grabs onto the back sides of the tongue between sips.

As thought, there's almost no carbonation. Body is medium light; alcohol is just a bit of heat on the tongue.

Not good as an old ale, but good as a beer.

 694 characters

Photo of yuichituba
1.79/5  rDev -50%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Bought this early July at the brewery. Brewey-only release.

Smells like a good old ale.
Tastes like an infected old ale with a veggie after taste.
Finishes overly dry like bad wine, extremely carbonated and boozy.

I regret buying two of these...I highly recommend not to buy it.

 281 characters

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

such a strange beer here, almost like a stingo, with the tannic acidity of the wine, and a funk to it beyond what we are used to in barleywine and old ale as we know them. murky dark brown amber colored beer, thick and sludgy, but still rather carbonated by the looks of it, with a nice tall chai tea latte colored head. the nose is really barrel influenced. tons of red grape character, and if i was told this was made with must or juice, i wouldn't argue it. light acidity from the vino, lots of fruit. the grain marries in well, but this is different from almost anything I've ever had, its not sweet at all, instead super dry. carbonation is enormous too, which you almost never see in this style, but its already nothing like anything in the old ale style I've seen. burnt cherry and dark caramel and toffee flavors from the grain and wine barrel, mellow oaken middle, with a zippy and tannic finish. this must be first use barrels, or have spent eons in the barrels, its just so wine forward. its rare these days that i find a beer that challenges me like this, its always cool to find something so unfamiliar and well put together. i don't like it half as much as the saisons upright does, but i have to tip my hat and commend this beer, there is really nothing like it. i see this as post thanksgiving dinner beer, maybe i will revisit it in that context. pricey but worth checking out if you have a curious palate.

 1,423 characters

Photo of badgustav
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%

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Billy The Mountain from Upright Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.58 out of 5 with 108 ratings