Special Herbs (Sole Composition Series) | Upright Brewing Company

Special Herbs (Sole Composition Series)Special Herbs (Sole Composition Series)
Liked This Beer
4.44 w/ 31 ratings
Special Herbs (Sole Composition Series)Special Herbs (Sole Composition Series)

Brewed by:
Upright Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Reggae Junkie Gruit, aged in Ransom Old Tom gin barrels.

Added by msubulldog25 on 02-28-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 31 |  Reviews: 18
Photo of hopsbreath
4.29/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this beer err... gruit. I order it whenever I see it on tap. Sampled this time at the Upright tasting room with TulipSnifter, MADhombrewer, and Witchsbrew.

A: Clear pale yellow with a half finger of white foam. No lacing pops up at all. This could be Miller Lite at first look. 3/5

S: The Miller Lite connection is so gone now. Bountiful clean light lactic greets the nose. I'm expecting some nice dry sour fruits now! 4/5

T: The promise of the aroma was not broken in the taste. Green apple skin, under-ripe green strawberries, and the stereotypical grape skin tannins are oh-so refreshing. A little bit of funky brett keep this dry. Not much left as far as herbs go at this point. Probably the best of Uprights sours in this aspect. 4.5/5

M: Surprisingly fuller than I would expect from such a dry beer. Slightly sticky on the finish but not bad. Scrubbing bubbles keeps the palate fresh. I need some Thai food because this would pair awesome! 4.5/5

O: Great beer. This is my third time having it on draft and I have a few bottles. Needless to say, this is one of my favorite sours in Portland! 4.5/5

Edit: I opened a bottle last night (5-19-11) and it was pretty dead on with all of what I wrote about the on-tap version except for one key component. A nice herbal quality was appreciated in the background that I'll compare to rosemary. It was not there on-tap. Rather than write a whole new review, I thought it best to merely mention it here. It didn't increase or decrease the point score at all for me but only added a nice nuance.

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Photo of oregone
4.75/5  rDev +7%

Photo of oregonskibum
4.57/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #163/166.

A: Very, very clear. Light golden color, almost like a chardonney. Slight white head. Plenty of bubbles floating to the top, which was nice to see given the seal was cracked the day earlier.

S: Ahh, the gin flavors are still there, although perhaps a little more subdued. Too bad. But still, nice botantical flavors with a hint of citrus tartness. But still plenty of green, juniper notes. I'm reminded why I really liked this beer when it was first released.

T: A funky tartness hits early on the taste, more so than expected from the smell. The herbal, gin flavors are more subdued than I remember. Definitely dry with some nice stone fruit flavors. The gin comes to play in mid to late taste with more astringent, floral flavors on the finish. After six+ months, this beer is still amazing. Or Gruit, if you insist.

M: Light, crisp, and very enjoyable. Not sure what the mouthfeel is supposed to be for a gruit, but this worked on release and six months later.

O/D: I liked this beer at release. I liked this beer when first released in bottle. I like this beer now. A lot. I really wish this was a regular offering. I really enjoy gin and the botantical flavors this adds to the beer are amazing. This goes down as one of the best beers of 2011. 166 bottles??? Ten times that amount wouldn't be enough, in my opinion.

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Photo of raveskdr
4.55/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 132 of 166. Poured into a Bruery glass. Huge thanks to thorpe429 and starrdog for all the Upright bottles we were able to crack.

A - Light golden color with thin bubbles that dissipate to a small layer.

S - A really interesting combination of spices. Really tough to pick out individual spices present. There is also a hint of lacto on the nose.

T - Wow. A huge melange of spices up front followed very quickly by a nice tartness. The combination sounds odd but really works so well in this beer.

M - Really light and wispy on the tongue. Really high drinkability.

O - An incredibly interesting, complex, and drinkable beer. This really was one of the standouts amongst the 8 bottles we had. So unique. I've never had anything like this before. Definitely worth seeking out if you like tart, spice, Upright, or a combination of all of those things.

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Photo of portlandjeff
4.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer a few times on tap at both the Upright Tasting Room and Grain and Gristle, and will enjoy another every time I might be fortunate enough to see it available again. I also picked up a bunch for my cellar!

Appearance: light amber gold, nice head, minimal lacing.

Smell: sour, dry, and fruity.

Taste: Follows the nose. I'm just going to have to follow the lead of the first review here, it's spot on: Green apple skin, under-ripe green strawberries, grape skin tannins. A little bit of funky brett in the finish. Not much left as far as herbs go at this point - although there are lingering complexities from the base beer (or is that the gin barrel?!) that still add a lot of depth to the experience. Perfect.

Mouthfeel is really nice. Light, but not too light. Refreshing, yet still lightly viscous.

Overall, probably one of the best sour beers made in Portland, the whole west coast, or anywhere else in the country. I tried not to hoard this one. I only bought two when they first came out, and I gave everyone else a few weeks to buy what they wanted before I returned for more. You snooze, you lose!

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Photo of Puddintane
4.92/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the most fantastically surprising beers that I have had in a long time. Went into this beer with a lot of hesitation and came out craving more. This bottle was split several ways at the Jackie O's sour release. Pours a light golden color with a sparse thin white head(might have been the glassware). Aroma is AMAZING. Herbal, citrusy, definitely picking up the gin barrel. I want the Special Herbs air freshener. Taste is much the same, very bright, herbal, citrusy flavors. The beer is so amazingly refreshing becuase of it's lightness on the palate coupled with a terrific gently tart and sour finish. I am jealous of any person that had the opportunity to stock up on this beer.

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Special Herbs (Sole Composition Series) from Upright Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96.8% out of 100 with 31 ratings
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