White Birch Barrel Aged AKA | White Birch Brewing

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White Birch Barrel Aged AKAWhite Birch Barrel Aged AKA
29 Ratings
White Birch Barrel Aged AKAWhite Birch Barrel Aged AKA

Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
AKA stands for Al and Kathy, Bill’s parents. The recipe for this beer is inspired by both English Strong Ales and Scotch Wee Heavy ales. Brewed from an American perspective, this beer is a rich malty brew with soft whiskey barrel notes. Medium bodied with a smooth finish. A special beer in honor of special parents.

Added by barleywinebrewer on 12-16-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 29 |  Reviews: 25
Photo of brentk56
1.68/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Batch One: 12/8/09

Appearance: Pours a clear mahogany; no head is generated

Smell: Tart apples and vinegar

Taste: Overwhelmingly acetic, with sourness dominating the palate; a vague hint of caramel and candied apple is somewhere underneath

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with no carbonation; puckery

Overall: Just terrible, not much else to say

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Photo of koopa
3.49/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber brewed in 2009 and sampled today.

Appearance: Pours a murky root beer with little to no crown, retention, or lace.

Smell: Caramel and toffee mainly.

Taste: Orange cream over sour green apple and lightly vinous notes.

Mouthfeel: Thin side of medium bodied with little to no carbonation.

Overall: Either age has done this beer no favors or it has all the right ingredients but totaled up into a dud despite that.

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Photo of rudzud
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Shared by JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice clear honey toffee hue with a thin halo.

S - Aromas of light fruitiness, caramel, apples, toffee, quite nice.

T - Taste is sweet almost toffee like, gentle apples, barrel sour notes. Super deceiving of a flavour here very pleasant of a new Apple candy.

M - Mouthfeel is rather pleasant with light carbonation.

O - Overall I enjoyed this beer with nice bourbon notes and apples.

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Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -23.6%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2/5  rDev -44.4%

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
3/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of bamadog
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I received this some time ago in a trade with drazamatazz (thanks for the hook up!). Review is from notes taken on 7/22/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a dark, coppery color with a lot of ruby and murky caramel-ike colors to it; starts with a short 1/4 finger fizzy head that fades immediately to nothing other than a pencil thin ring around the surface; body is murky, just a touch cloudy;

Smell: Tart and acidic cherries; butterscotch (perhaps a touch of diacetyl); bit of alcoholic vapor; nose is inviting enough.

Taste: I think it's pretty decent, and likely deserves better than the "B" average that it's received thus far; the tart and acidic cherries (perhaps a bit of green apple as well?) blends with caramel and butterscotch malts; touch of whiskey booziness in there and a stringent oakiness lingering well into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight, and it comes across the palate as oily and slick; carbonation is nearly non-existant (I would still say it's carbonated better than a Lost Abbey beer, though!); a moderately thick, semi-dry sticky coating is left on the roof of the mouth; belly is left quite warm from the nearly 12% ABV and high acidity to this one.

Overall: Definitely a sipper and not something I would seek out on a regular basis, even if it was available on a regular basis. The flavors are good, but the sweetness becomes a bit cloying after a bit and the acidity wears on the tummy. Still, though, it's a nice treat and would be a good one to share. I'm curious as to what the base beer is for this.

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Photo of Bendurgin
2.63/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Andrewinski1 for sharing this Bad Larry. Bottle number 172 of 224 poured into a tulip. The color is pretty nice. It's a pretty vibrant ruby red. It's really murky though and has little head and thin lace. I smell this and it reminds me of cherry cough syrup that is thick and buttery. The aroma is kind of rounded out with an oaky finish. Honestly just not pleasant. The flavor seems to have a bit of an identity crisis. It starts of with tart cherries and that smooths out to a bit sweet quickly finishing with a butterscotch flavor. It's not really bad, but I'm confused by it. The mouthfeel is thick and buttery (I know by now I feel like I'm just repeating myself with this). I can drink this, but I'm not really going to enjoy it.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle 172 of 224. Poured into a White Birch goblet. Murky reddish brown with an okay head that disappears quickly.

There are a lot of aromas. I get a bit of pomegranate and cherry medicine. Some nice malty sweetness like a nice barleywine is noticeable, but not prevalent. A distinct buttery aroma is also noticed; it isn't too strong, but I was admittedly worried about it so I notice it.

The taste is mildly sweet and finishes with slight heat and a bit of crispness. A small hint of tartness is noticed; and it plays well with the sweetness to a degree. To be honest this is all over the place and not really focused.

The mouthfeel is a little cola like, a little sharp. The body is very very light for the ABV. Honestly, this exceeded my expectations, so maybe I'm a little biased. I might be able to finish my half of the bottle.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger off-white head that fades quickly, leaving traces of lace. Hazy dark amber color. Yeast left in bottle. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Tart nose. Flavor is tart and yeasty, dry sour apple finish. High ABV is totally hidden. Expensive - $15.25 for a 750ml bottle from Chase Street Market & Deli Plymouth, NH. Bottled 6/9/2010, bottle 5/192.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an oxblood colored, wax sealed 22oz bomber into a St. Bernardus goblet. Special thanks to Vanillamike for this from a trade from a while ago.

Bottled: December 8, 2009
Batch: One
Bottle: 195 of 224
ABV: Alc. 11.9% by Vol.

A: Pours a clear, ruby tinted brown, much like a Bourbon. Teeny tiny off white head disappears almost immediately, but not before leaving a few random splotches of lace. Carbonation is exceedingly lazy. The second pour, with all the swirled sediment, looked like a pot of dark melted caramel.

S: Interesting to say the least. Right off the bat I was greeted with aromas of berries, vinegar, butter, vanilla, and bourbon.

T: See above. Add to that tart white grape, toffee, butterscotch, caramel, and tangy red wine.

M: Loads of bright unripened berry. Very vinous type mouthfeel. Alcohol is pretty restrained.

D: Considering the abv, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy to drink this was. I'd love to see another batch of this (if they make another...) show a little less berry, and a little more oak, vanilla, caramel, and coconut.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 102 of 224 shared at woodshop 5.1

Poured a amber brown with orange highlights and left a decent amount of sticky lacing on the glass. Intresting nose consisting of caramel malts and barrel oak booze alongaside berries and mild vanilla. The flavors were unique sour and booze that was made up of the caramel malts like the nose. Berries figs apples and booze accents with raisin and grape notes. The beer was medium body with a fair amount of carbonation that had a sweet sour and boozy finish. Overall it was a experimental offering that was quite intresting on the palate and the nose. Maybe that was not suppose to be the outcome. Regardless of the strange characters it was a good beer.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.48/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to Ryan for sending this one my way.

A: The pour is a dark copper color with a medium tan head on it.

S: Tons of sweet butterscotch with extra emphasis on the butter. A bit of vanilla, green apple, caramel, and more butter.

T: A very strange flavor. Again, lots of sweetness and butter up front. There is a seemingly misplaced tart fruit flavor underneath, primarily of green apples and maybe some raspberries.

M: The body is somewhat thick and mildly syrupy with a low-ish level of carbonation.

D: Pretty disappointing here. I keep getting my hopes up for these White Birch beers, but this is another disappointing effort.

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Photo of largadeer
2.5/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A rare barrel-aged beer, what could be better? Bomber shared by bring. Thanks, Barry.

The beer resides in my glass a murky but mostly clear amber. It has minimal carbonation and no head forms.

The aroma is odd. It's fruity, a bit tart and very boozy. Raspberries and green apples with caramel and bourbon. The alcohol is sharp and the tart berry character seems out of place, possibly the result of a minor bacterial infection.

It has a syrupy texture with flavors of raspberries and toffee. There's a bit of oxidation, tart fruit, iron. The lack of carbonation gives this a very syrupy and lifeless mouthfeel. Finishes tart and fruity, faintly metallic. "Meh" pretty much sums up my feelings toward this beer.

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Photo of nickd717
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber thanks to bring. Ok, so this is rare and barrel aged. Does that mean it's good? Well, a lot of people seem to think so.

Pours clear medium brown with a small off-white head.

Aroma is slightly metallic but otherwise good. Caramel and some dark fruits, maybe cherries and plums.

Flavor is caramel, toffee, raspberry, and a fair amount of tartness. Some slight barrel notes.

Just a little flat and boring on the palate with medium body.

Decent overall, but White Birch continues to underwhelm in my opinion. Average-plus drinkability.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
4.23/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle tried 30 Jan 2010. #159/224.

Trade from mutterfudder, thanks!

Served in a 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Small rapidly disappearing head. Medium carbonation. Cloudy brown color. Yeasty, appley, brown sugar and cherry aroma. Apple and yeasty to start, with vanilla, bourbon and cherry tartness. Also some raisins and oakiness. Boozy warm finish. Medium body. After an initial burst of carbonation beer becomes pretty flat.

Apperance is meh but otherwise a nice beer.

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Photo of jlindros
4.35/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Bottle # 167 of 224 of batch one, bottled on December 8, 2009. It's too bad it was a one time thing (so far), but now I finally got around to reviewing it.

A: A nice loud pppssst is heard as I pop the top, hacking my way through the wax. A light fizzy head forms but barely covers the beer, and fades very quickly. It's a hazy and foggy muck brown colored, almost raisin color.

N: It has some nice sweetness to it, with quite a bit of bourbon, oak, and a touch of vanilla. Some strong malty aromas, with some bourbony fruit, and even a sweet nougat aroma. Some brown sugar, a little molasses, hint of caramel and more vanilla coming out. Not too sweet smelling either surprisingly. No real boozy aroma as well.

T: Starts somewhat sweet and creamy actually. Sweet malts, thick almost syrupy malts with more sweetness, a hint of brown sugar and molasses but neither are actually present in the beer, just hints from the malts. Lots of juicy flavors actually, with a hint of fruit. A good share of bourbon as well, and tons of wood. Some oak flavors, woody esthers, which seemed to blend well in the beer. More vanilla as well. Somewhat sweet, but no really boozy flavor, with just a hint of alcohol presence. Thinner than I expected too and not very syrupy. Some raisin too.

M: Medium body, much thinner than expected, no real booze or syrupy feels, and very low carbonation.

F: Still somewhat sweet, with a little malty flavors, more raisin and hints of molasses. Lots of wood again, with woody esthers, oak, and overall wood presence. More bourbon lingering as well with some of that fruity bourbon presence, and lingering vanilla. Much lighter than I expected and semi sweet, but not syrupy, and hides the alcohol VERY well, being 12% and barely noticable. Nice bourbon, wood, vanilla and a little fruit. Tasty, and I think it already tastes like it has some age and will age even better. Could have used a little more carbonation too, and perhaps thickness in the mouth.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

inflatablechair brought this over to a recent tasting... Thanks a TON Sam!!! You're good people. Didn't write down the bottle number damn it.

This was one of the most debated brews that we've ever sampled as a group... There were tons of talk and many trips to the complectron to get any sorta info we could about it.... in the end, I'm pretty sure everyone liked it but was left scratching their heads.

Deep amber brew .. slightly hazed... nice head and minimal lacing..

Nose is incredibly unique.. red grapes with caramel... tawny port.. and some whaffs of vanilla.

Flavor mirrors the nose ... really fruity.. tannic... so very weird.. but good.. some odd sour plum essence comes to mind.. vinous and sorta figgy at the same time.. I wrote down later "tropical fruits", but I don't remember now exactly what I was thinking... alcohol shows with warmth.

medium body with good carbonation.

"grapey" was brought up a bunch... again.. weird, yet interesting enough to keep us from moving on to another bottle for a long time. Thanks again Sam!!

Now.... If you're reading this.... Send the Boise peeps another bottle .... we want to do this again. :-)


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Photo of getkrunkhoe
1.68/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Tasted @ Woodshop...

App- light orange with brighter orange hue.

Ar- very strong boozy notes, a bit of a sour note stands out.

T- sour, I think this bottle was OXIDIZED (damn what a shame), bit of brbn. I dont get much but sour brbn.

MF- Thick, tart, some carbonation.

D- oxidation made it a drain pour.

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Photo of WesWes
4.32/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a cloudy dark amber, almost red color with a 1/4" off-white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is incredible. It has an awesome caramel malt scent along with a creamy barrel aroma. It sweet and fruity with some mild vanilla notes. The taste is great as well. It's incredibly smooth with a ton of barrel character. There is some nice caramel flavor, but the barrel aging really makes this beer. It's warming with a mild vanilla taste and an excellent fruitiness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a delicious beer. It's complex and very interesting; a good drinker. Thanks andrewinski1

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Photo of DIM
4.52/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle # 75 of 224

a: This was a ruby tinted brown with golden edges, slightly hazy. It poured with a medium sized off-white head.

s: Is mysterious a smell? I spent a full minute after pouring just sniffing and thinking, "wtf?" I've never smelled any beer even remotely similar to this, but this absolutely works well. Lots going on here including, musty cherries and grapes, brown sugar, bourbon, oaky tannins, earthy/peaty malts, and just a trace of soy sauce. Strange and wondeful, I'm tempted to call it a barrel aged Scottish Oud Bruin. Nah, nevermind. It is what it is and it is good.

t: What a unique and amazing brew! The flavors mirror the smell for the most part. This was both mildly tart and lightly sweet. The two seemed to go back and forth several times each sip. Tart, musty fruit is balanced by earthy sweetness in the form of vanilla, molasses, mild peatiness, and the bourbon which shows up at the finish. Maybe my barrel aged Wee Bruin idea wasn't so far off after all.

m: Gently carbonated with a nice lingering tart fruit and bourbon flavor.

d: I fear that my brow may be permanently furrowed. I spent the first glass in deep thought and consternation as I tried to decipher this wonderful enigma. I'm going to relax and enjoy the second.

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.99/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on Dec. 8th, 2009. Batch 1. Bottle 109 of 224.

Finally cracking open my first White Birch brew. I have a couple of these sitting in the cellar, but I've been waiting for a relaxing weekend to enjoy one or two of them. Poured this one into a tulip glass. The body is a hazy raisin color that supports a thin white head on top. Almost no lacing.

On the nose I first get a whiff of vinegar that slowly starts to fade into more of a vinous character. Sweet fruits, such as plums, figs and raisins slowly rise up from the glass. Possibly a bit of honey and then some funky ethyl alcohol notes. An interesting and fairly complex aroma. Not really getting much wood aging in the nose except for faint hints of strong bourbon like liqueur.

My first expectation going into this beer, after pulling out some of the notes in the aroma, was that the body would be pretty thick. After the first sip I could tell that I was completely wrong. Lots of flavor, but a fairly thin body. Very wine like. The flavor itself is also quite vinous. Lots of tannins from the wood aging it seems, and some vanilla. Raisins, juicy grapes and figs float over the barrel flavors. I still can't get over how wine like this beer is. I have had other beers that have a vinous character, but none that compare to this.

Mouthfeel is just slightly heavier than wine or grape juice. Warming alcohol and low carbonation. A little spicy at times.

Drinkability is pretty good. I don't think I would drink an entire bomber by myself, but its great for splitting with another person. Currently I'm going to go curl up with a good book and the rest of this bottle. Should make for a very enjoyable afternoon.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.06/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter revealing modest airy head and an opaque brown body, not much lacing here. Smells sweet like vanilla almond milk and estery with lots of fig presence. Some wood notes in there as well as toasted sesame seed and sweet red bean paste. The smells are plentiful and complex.

Tastes a little sour, a little sweet, a lot of alcohol presence and a hit of smooth malt and some bread-y-ness to finish it off. I get a lot of fermented sweet red bean out of the sweet flavors and the sourness is nice and crisp (perhaps the most agreeable sour taste in beer I've experience to date). Very warming. Carbonation is fine, almost creamy, and a little acidic and tingly. Mouthfeel is otherwise just a shade under smooth, but the texture compliments it somewhat. I can't decide if it's drinkable or not. It's so... strange. In a good way.

Overall, I'd have to say this one is an experience. I'd have to share the bomber with someone else to get through it, but I am enjoying it pretty well.

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Photo of lpayette
4.67/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #104 of 224, batch #1. Purchased at Lebanon Health Foods http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/11641

Appearance- Served in a White Birch Brewing glass. The color is just about exactly like I'd expect from the style. It's somewhere between hazy caramel brown and a ruby red. The head pushes to be a finger deep. Good overall appearance for the style.

Smell- My first thought upon opening the bottle was vinegar, which concerned me. Given that this is barrel aged it's not unfathomable to think this might be infected with some bugs either on purpose or by interesting mistake. Oddly enough, after pouring and taking several whiffs, the vinegar seemed to disappear. Further, deeper smells reveal dark fruit, whisky, plums, a slightly perfume-like effervescence, and dried tobacco leaves. Overall it's all very complex, but the whisky is a bit overpowering, but I know that I'm not a big fan of spirits, and this has some effect on my score. Still very good though.

Taste- Like the label says, "[their] goal is to create great beer for the enthusiast." This beer is not going to appeal to everyone by any means, but if you're a craft beer drinker give it a chance; analyze it as much as you can, and you'll likely find yourself loving this a few sips in. The base for what is going on here is a deep malty backbone that has fermented into something very dark and fruity (think raisins and passion fruit). The next biggest taste contributor is probably the whisky barrels, which I honestly wish was toned down just a hair, but it all ends up working pretty well in the end. Next comes a very subtle yet sometimes sharp note of vanilla which I'd like to see take a bit more prominent role, but not much more. There are definitely moments where oak comes through, and I'd have to guess that this is American oak, though I confess that I'm not an expert in telling the difference between various woods. Every once in a while some green sour apple drops in just to keep it interesting. In summary, the taste is exceptionally complex and very, very good.

Mouthfeel- Overall this is what I'd call medium-bodied, though some will find it to be thick (for example if you think guinness is thick). It's semi-dry, and I suspect that cider and wine drinkers might be more apt to like this... Though I'm not either of those, so just try it if you have a chance to. The carbonation is spot on for the style.

Drinkability- It's not often that a beer can make me re-think a style anymore. This one did just that. And it's not that it re-defined the style, it really just got me thinking about what the style entails, and I concluded that this really fits well as an "American Strong Ale." Barrel-aged, complex in every way, and yet the flavors meshed well together. Despite my dislike of whisky and all other types of hard liquor, this barrel-aged wonder was excellent, and I can only imagine what a few years of aging might do to this.

Side Notes- The simple, yet artistic label along with the crazy wax dripping (which reminds me of bottles of Dark Lord) along with the individually #'d bottles is a nice touch.

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White Birch Barrel Aged AKA from White Birch Brewing
Beer rating: 3.6 out of 5 with 29 ratings