Special Herbs (Seasonal) | Upright Brewing Company

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Special Herbs (Seasonal)Special Herbs (Seasonal)
BA SCORE
4.39/5
Outstanding
195 Ratings
Special Herbs (Seasonal)Special Herbs (Seasonal)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Upright Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
uprightbrewing.com

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
2013 Notes:
This version of Special Herbs is composed of Reggae Junkie Gruit aged in Old Tom Gin barrels and wine barrels that previously fermented Fantasia, a peach beer.

2014 Notes:
A unique brew incorporating wine and gin barrel aging to a farmhouse style gruit. The recipe uses lemongrass, sweet and bitter orange peels, hyssop, and Sichuan peppercorns. A bit of spelt in the grist helps maintain some body, although the Special Herbs leans in a bright and dry direction.

Added by cavemanlawyer on 08-15-2013

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#538
Reviews:
26
Ratings:
195
pDev:
6.38%
 
 
Wants:
99
Gots:
18
Trade:
6
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 195 |  Reviews: 26
Photo of Dactrius
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Roustabout
4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

“Pacific” version.

Best gruit I’ve laid my hands on. The shiso etc. doesn’t pop out particularly, but adds to a strong, lacy herb profile atop a light crackery base. Lovely Druid juice.

 194 characters

Photo of baggedlunch
4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

i absolutely love this brewery, and i am so glad to see some of their bottles popping up around colorado again. this is a unique one, more sour than the others that have come around recently, and fashioned as a gruit, without hops and using a unique mix of herbs instead. this one has a bunch of cool stuff, but it comes together really well, floral but dried, peppery and lightly medicinal, bitter but clean, really clever and interesting beer. its also aged in gin and wine barrels from what i gather, and i do get the juniper aspect, especially in the aroma. there is a clean woodiness to this too, almost new oak, light vanilla and earth, lumber and sweetness, unifying and nice with all the herbs. this is nicely bitter but also has some freshness, and is maltier than i would have expected, a crystal clear light copper or dark honey color with a tall white head. the sourness is what throws me a little bit, i didnt expect this to be wild so much as a saison like a lot of their others are, but there is some serious citrusy acidity to this, not overly sour, but definitely packing a pucker. floral later on, a little mouth tingling from the szechuan pepper, spicy, grassy, and like nothing else out there. great carbonation and a slow fading finish where i can appreciate each element all over again. these guys continue to fascinate me, hoping this is only the beginning of their beers showing up in colorado...

 1,420 characters

Photo of NWHopinator
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of psweendogg
4.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of shelby415
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jason_nwx
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Marius
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at August THT. Hazy raw yellow with no head. Notes of vinegar, spices, lemongrass, ginger, peppers. Medium body, light carbonation and a tart finish.

 163 characters

Photo of Nat1975
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jzeilinger
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of THANAT0PSIS
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Upright Special Herbs (2016, Old Tom Gin, ex-Fantasia, and brandy casks)

A: Bone white head of about two fingers crowns this perhaps most famous of gruits; it quickly fades amidst the fizzing of very active carbonation. The beer itself is a gorgeous, hazy gold, brimming with brilliant orange hues. Lacing is unfortunately spotty, however, and it and retention could use work. These failings may be due to acidity or barrel-aging or both. 4/5

A: Bright citrus fruitiness is the star here, backed by plenty of interesting herbaceous notes. White pepper, mint, and rosemary are suggested, and juniper is unmistakeable, yet there is a deeper fruitiness that shows as it warms, something akin to overripe peaches and even darker stone fruits. There is maybe even some candied fig and berries in the very back end. This smells quite sweet, but not in a cloying way. It is difficult to pick out many specific notes as they all blur together, but it is very appetizing. 4.5/5

T: While it seems that Upright largely followed their typical saison recipe and substituted herbs for hops, that is certainly not a dig since they do saisons oh-so-well. A familiar light tartness and Brett-y funky quality greets the drinker right away, very white wine in its execution and could in fact be the wine barrels themselves. Then sweet citrus, light mint, sweet alcohol, floral white pepper, overripe peach, and darker stone fruits and berries mingle nearly inseparably across the palate. Juniper from the gin is there to make sure things do not get too sweet, and spelt makes an appearance just as the beer dries up a little. The aftertaste is candied orange rind and fig, plus a little oak. Again, it is quite difficult to parse out all the complexity here as it just blends so effortlessly. 4.5/5

M: This drinks full and sticky with a playful acidity and enough soft, natural carbonation to keep it from becoming a chore. The pucker level is low, almost nonexistent. The hyssop leaves a very pleasant, cooling minty feeling that really builds as the glass empties. It would be nice to see this a bit drier in the finish and with higher carbonation, both of which could probably be achieved with a little cellaring or a little more time barrel-fermenting. 3.75/5

O: This is the first gruit I have ever drank, and I am unsure how closely Upright comes to stylistic guidelines, so I have rated this against what a saison might be with herbs instead of hops. The style seems to be very fluid, so I do not think this is a problem. While I would like this a little drier (especially rated against saisons), the sheer complexity and uniqueness makes up for it. There is so much to like here, and it is all a bit obscured by how perfectly Upright have blended and balanced the beer's many components; this is a beer to be contemplated and enjoyed over a long period of time. Upright somehow remains vastly underrated and under-hyped. Please let us keep it that way. Pair with MF Doom's "Special Herbs: The Box Set" (Creative and unexpected, huh?) 4.5/5

 3,032 characters

Photo of jkrug5
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of atrocity
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of ipafool
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of duceswild
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of wedge
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Date unknown...probably 2014

Hazy gold under a soft, frothy head that fizzles to a sticky ring. Funky, woody spice in the nose tinted with colorful fresh citrus. Peppercorns, lemon, lime, damp earth, berries, musty basement, graham crackers, very light gin. Flavor is a delicious balance of lemony tartness and aromatic herbs and spices. A beautiful blend of flavors. Vibrant citrus, flowers, mellow spice, creamy orange, and a bit of wood. Medium-light, frothy feel with some pucker on the finish. A delightfuly tart lemon/lime, funky treat. Thank you Patrick!

 570 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of datpingao
4.86/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of shoegueuze
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Shippy
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle. Pours a light golden orange with a little cloudiness and bubbles flowing to the top, much like champagne. Smell is sour with citrus and a bit of spice/pepper, and a little funk. Flavor is very bright with lots of orange and a bit of pepper with some gin notes present. The orangey sweetness is noticeable on the sides of the tongue, while the pepper and carbonation dance on the tip of the tongue. The feel is more full than I expected, but there is still a lot of carbonation that keeps it light. Overall this is a great wild saison with nice sweetness and good complimentary flavors.

 607 characters

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Special Herbs (Seasonal) from Upright Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 195 ratings