Special Herbs (Seasonal) | Upright Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
23 Reviews
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Special Herbs (Seasonal)Special Herbs (Seasonal)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Upright Brewing Company
Oregon, United States | website

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
Reviews:
23
Ratings:
184
Avg:
4.33
pDev:
6.7%
 
 
Wants:
100
Gots:
19
For Trade:
4
User Reviews
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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 184
Reviews by Beerandboards:
Photo of Beerandboards
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of SkiBum22
4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of acurtis
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of JonnyBeers
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of switzer
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of blabaer
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Clear yellow with a small white head. A little leggy and a thin collar.

Smell - Wow it's bizarre but incredible. Spices. Bright acidity. Some maltiness. Weird herbal and spicy character.

Taste - Follows the smell. Herbal. Sharp tang. Slightly sweet pale malt. Oak. I'm not a gin drinker, so I don't know what's coming from the base beer and from the barrel.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Slightly sweet. Low sourness.

Overall - I don't know what to say about this except that it's awesome and I don't know why.

 562 characters

Photo of robgage
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of beerloverofbham
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Bunuelian
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of sfr26
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Boozecamel
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Rutager
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a hazy gold with a half finger of white head that fades to a ring fairly quickly.

Smell. Funky barrel, limes, juniper berries, floral herbs, fairly sour. Interesting and reminiscent of last night's BA Flora.

Taste. Sour with some light peach, juniper and oak, savory herbs (maybe thyme and a tiny bit of rosemary), lemon and other citrus fruits. Much better (for me, anyways) than the BA Flora from last night.

Mouthfeel. Medium-light body, medium low carbonation. Very thirst quenching and crisp.

Overall. Light and refreshing with plenty of subtle complexity. A winner for sure, very much enjoying it.

 627 characters

Photo of LotsofLupulin
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Fievel
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of THANAT0PSIS
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
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 GreesyFizeek
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by Jack, thanks man.

This one pours a cloudy and super turbid orange, almost looks like a smoothie, with a small head, and a good amount of lacing.

Smells like gin, heavy citrus, juniper, with some other earthy aromas.

This is definitely one of the more unique beers I've had. It's relatively sour, with a really great herbal character to it. I won't be super adept and say I can pick out the lemon grass, and the peppercorns, and the hyssop, whatever that is, but it is very herbal, piney, and minty, which is an enjoyable twist on the usual sour.

This is medium bodied, juicy and slightly creamy, with a moderate level of carbonation.

Really cool beer here, I'd love to get a bottle for myself.

 715 characters

Photo of wedge
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
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 cavemanlawyer
4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2013 Season Release of Upright's Special Herbs. It is a gruit-style aged in gin barrels and oak barrels that formerly held fantasia.

Appearance is golden-wheat hued brew with a fine pure white lacing.

Smells of gin and peaches in the best possible way. Acidic and dry on the nose, juniper and oak dominate.

Taste is tart, dry and refreshing. Lots of dry gin and soft fuzzy peach skin. Subtle herbal notes expand as the beer comes to room temp. Drink slowly and enjoy. Highly drinkable.

Mouthfeel is light and champagne-like. Dry throughout. Upright has mastered this style.

On par with the sole comp version, one of the best from this brewery. The addition of peach balances and compliments the dry gin which dominated the sole comp batch. Great stuff.

 780 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of st9647v3
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SveNss0N
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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Special Herbs (Seasonal) from Upright Brewing Company
4.33 out of 5 based on 184 ratings.
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