Billy The Mountain | Upright Brewing Company

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Billy The MountainBilly The Mountain

Brewed by:
Upright Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: 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

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Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 102
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.15/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle courtesy of fthomasl. Pours a clear copper color with a small tan foam. Light lacing to a nice collar.

Nose is sugary and fruity with some spicy yeast esters. Cinnamon, caramel and toffee. Malty brew, but the sugar aromas are killing me.

Taste is lightly tart with a dark fruit and caramel flavor. Bitter on the finish...and I dont think it is the hops. I want to say some spices are involved here, but I cant be entirely sure. By far my least favorite of the (usually outstanding) Upright beers I have had. Tough for me to even finish my half of the 750.

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Photo of hopsbreath
2.67/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

TulipSnifter and I each had a glass on tap at Grain & Gristle on New Years Eve. Paired with the burger served with house made pickles. The burger was great! The beer... Not so much.

A: Dark brown prune juice, wisp ring, no lacing. 2.5/5

S: Alcoholic raisins, a touch of smoke, lightly tart. Its not typical to the style, but not bad either. 3/5

T: More of the sweet prunes that the appearance promised, black tea, and tart cherry juice fermented in oak. Its not as complex as I like, and perhaps a little boring. 2/5

M: Lowly carbonated, moderate body, dry on the tongue but a little sticky on the soft palate. 3/5

D: The drinkability is highly enhanced by boring nature of this beer. The lack of complexities makes this easy to drink without thinking about it. That and the 9.1% ABV never really shows up in all its glory. Since the alcohol is well hidden, I'm going to call this "slightly above average". 3.5/5

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Photo of clearlydiluted
3.28/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

8 oz glass @ Grain & Gristle

Pours a dark brown with ruby hints. smells slightly funky with hints of dark fruit. the taste is slightly sweet with hints sherry, balsamic notes, and an sour acetic hit in the finish. the aftertaste is anchored by an earthy bittering with hints of dark fruit and some fruity funky notes from the brett. the body is medium-thin with no hint of the 9.1% alcohol.

truthfully I think this leans more towards an oud bruin rather than a brett inflected English old ale, which is too bad as I was expecting more dark fruits and malt in the beer overall. still, I'd love to see how it ages out in the bottle.

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Photo of John_M
3.44/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the Grain and Gristle this evening.

The beer pours a dark chocolate brown color with virtually no head or lacing. The nose is kind of bizarre, and I assume what I get reflects some extended aging in barrels. In any event, I get a melange of celery salt, dry sherry, nuts, wood, light vanilla, prunes and molasses. The flavor profile replicates the nose fairly closely, but is clearly dominated by the molasses and prunes, as well as the dry sherry and more wood. The finish is fairly dry and sherry filled in this otherwise moderately sweet, full flavored beer. Drinkability is where this beer really falls apart, and in fact I was unable to finish even the 8 ounce wine glass serving I received at the G&G. While not hot, the beer is heavy and a bit tiring on the palate, and it was just a chore to get this beer down given the sweetness, wood and sherry flavors.

Interesting beer, no doubt, but I'm not sure this is a beer I'll want to revisit any time soon.

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Photo of Arbitrator
1.89/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Chilled 750mL bottle into a glass. Purchased at the brewery with ramnuts' help back in March, I think. Thanks, Frank.

A: Pours a murky brown body, translucent at the edges but dark in the center. The head is two fingers of light tan foam that recedes quickly into a short-lived cap and then a moderate collar at the edges. Some lacing as I sip.

S: This beer evolves quite a bit as it warms. At first, it's molasses and nuts; the beer later adopts a light leather character, then finally nuts once more. It's not altogether pungent, though.

T: Wood, molasses. Some caramel and leather, with a touch of hay (funk) and tannins in the finish. The flavors are not well integrated, piling on in random orders and wavering strengths. In the finish, the flavors simply drop out and leave a small, lingering alcohol burn that isn't particularly pleasant.

M: The beer is thin, with a watery flavor that is accentuated by the strong tannic character as it warms. Well carbed. There is an alcohol burn in the finish that detracts from the experience. If it were thicker, it would mute the burn, but its thinness makes the experience harsh overall.

D: It's not undrinkable, but it's uninteresting. Kind of has an experimental homebrew vibe right now.

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Photo of ccrida
4.07/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is murky dark brown with a big, very tight, creamy light tan head that leaves scattered, foamy lace. Probably my favorite of Ezra's labels.

Smell is big raisiny malt (special b?), toffee, a little bretty funk. Major bourbon as it warms, huge caramel and vanilla, some fruity esters, grapes. Drastically improved as it warmed to room temp, but then again, I'm a bourbon lover. A total shift from the nose at fridge temp, with plenty of Belgian characteristics as well.

Taste is not as rich, the brett seems to have dulled it down a bit, although it's not overly funky, just a little horseblanket on the clean finish. The palate is not as drastically changed as it warmed, although the malts really come out more, a really nice slightly funked BSDA. Loving it quite a bit by the end, but still note as much as the nose.

Mouthfeel is medium light, not creamy or well carbonated though, which I expected from the pour.

Drinkability is good. It's a pretty smooth strong ale, more BSDA then old ale, but I realize that is how Upright billed it, so no really complaints about the style designation. I'd drink this one now if you're holding it in the cellar, the richness of the malt will only continue to thin by the brett. It started out kind of boring, but the depth increased as it warmed, and the smoothness speaks to the execution, particularly due to the obtuse style.

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Photo of jedwards
4.62/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to msubulldog25 for the trade!

Love the labels on these Upright seasonals. Active head that settles quickly into a dense, pillowy foam. The beer itself is a murky brown that doesn't settle out. Smell is unusual -- prune and caramel with slight brett funk. Taste leads with vanilla and a slight tartness followed by brown sugar/toffee, characteristic dark fruit, and a long vinous finish. Mouthfeel is smooth but not slick and carbonation is high but dense. This beer is really, really terrific -- almost like a Belgian old ale, whatever that might be. Will have to track down some more bottles, would love to see what another year or five does to this.

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Photo of Docer
3.28/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle purchased at The Beer Mongers some months back.... grading based on memory here... have a grade, not too much to say.

- Nice dark and super foamy brew... can't see much through it, murky brown with a huge light mocha fuzz... had to wait quite awhile to get it to calm down.... must have still been working hard in the bottle...

- Yeast and brett character dominates... bready, biscuit.. farmhouse funk.... and subtle sweetness, herbal qualities... grassy.

- Smooth, slightly sweet... biscuit, and yeast madness. Little bit of funk, tart quality.... slight spice, and more herbal hops.. grassy,.

- Medium bodied, and plenty well carbonated. Let it warm a bit too... and it is just kind of a wild drink.

- Overall the Saison qualities sat heavy, while the other qualities I was looking for... weren't there... like a more barleywine dominance. Overall it was too carbonated for my liking... and the yeast/brett took over. Worth the try, but I can't see giving this an A. Sofar I am a much bigger fan of Uprights lighter brews... 4... Alcohol was well hidden though I might add.

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Photo of Pecorasc
4.29/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750mL green bottle poured into pint glasses and split two ways with Boothbeer. The bottle was almost filled to the cap. Like their other seasonal releases, this bottle has great artwork.

A- The head starts crackling and fizzing as soon as the beer hits the glass. It makes you think its going to fizzle down to nothing, but it eventually settles into a dark tan, dense foam that shows little activity. With no light behind this, it looks dark brown and murky, but when held to light it is actually deep orange to red with some haze and plenty of beading.

S- Brett character is dominant in the nose: tart and funky, wet horse blanket. There is almost a limoncello character to this, probably from the yeast and alcohol. The alcohol is restrained, but noticeable. Everything is layered on top of a flowery yeast character and a dark carmel-like malt backbone. Not your typical old ale, but wow does this have character!

T- Starts out with a very slight brett character, that is much more restrained than in the aroma, and a tangy lemon flavor. A moment later, dust and cardboard shows themselves along with a chewy carmel and toffee flavor. The next transition is to alcohol and a residual sweetness that clings to the palate. The sweetness in the aftertaste is a combination of toffee and chocolate malt. Judging by the aroma, I thought this would be more brett influenced; a fantastic transition of flavors.

M- Smooth with a medium body and a dry finish. This does have a high level of carbonation, but less than their other offerings. The mouthfeel really allows for the great drinkability.

D- 9%? Really? One of the most sessionable beers at this high level of alcohol that I've experienced. In hindsight, I didn't need to and shouldn't have split this one. The alcohol was so restrained, but did build moderately after 3/4 of the pint. Very nice beer, but I would like to see some age on it and find out what direction the brett goes... maybe next year!

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Photo of jdense
4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big green unlabeled bottle purchased at a visit to the brewery 11/09, two months before public release, mystery bottle for last slot on Twelve Beers of Christmas tasting. Thanks, Alex!

Light amber clear body, one finger off-white head, nice lacing. Vanilla, oak tannins in nose from pinot noir barrel aging. The taste is very mellow and smooth for the style, not heavy. The Brett is hardly noticeable, usually my tummy reacts pretty quickly, but it certainly added a bit of funk to the bottle. Not overly carbonated, very smooth and drinkable. Another winner from one of NW rising breweries. Worth seeking out at Lucky Lab Strong Ale Festival under Studebacher Hach moniker. Grab a bottle during January 2010 limiited release. Recommended.

EDIT-Batch #2 bottle shared with neighborhood beer buddy poured into tulip glasses 6.12.11.

Poured almost flat, a minimal amount of light tan head, quick dissipation, over dark brown almost opaque body. Smell features a bit of barrel aromas, some molasses, minimal hops. Uh Oh, funky sour cherry taste right up front dominates taste, pretty sure this is infected, though since we both like sours we were able to get this down. Mouthfeel fairly light for style, minimal effervescence. I love Alex's beers, but this was the first dud I've had from Upright. Hope the two Batch #1 bottles I have left don't suffer from same affliction. Disappointing.

The rating pertains to Batch #1. If I was rating the latter it would be 3/3/3/3/2.5.

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Billy The Mountain from Upright Brewing Company
3.42 out of 5 based on 102 ratings.
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