White Birch Wrigian | White Birch Brewing

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White Birch WrigianWhite Birch Wrigian

Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with a complimentary blend of rye and hops to highlight the spicy nature of rye.

Added by barleywinebrewer on 03-17-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 53
Photo of cosmicevan
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

March 2011 batch 2

a - bottle geysered upon the pop. Filled my E snifter and took a while to tame the head and get a solid pour. Brew was amber plum with a thin foamy head after things settled.

s - nose is plum and apple.

t - like the nose, apple and plum with some grapes.

m - soft feel, not over carbed

o - surprised it geysered since the rest of the beer was in solid shape. Nothing too carzy or offensive. Not really memorable, just decent.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle is labeled as 2011. Poured into a stemmed glass. Brownish red body. Decent head and lacing, but nothing spectacular. Nice spicy aroma. The flavor of this beer was really the highlight. Reminds me of a hoppy Belgian dubbel. It has a nice bite to it, but has a great brown-sugar sweetness also. The negative here is the fact that this beer is unfiltered and sadly a huge chunk of sediment slid into the glass on the second pour, and really muddied the body. Should have only drank the first 15 oz, and left the rest. The first glass was pretty tasty though.

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Photo of nickfl
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - poured with two fingers of off-white foam on top of a clear, amber brown body. The head settles fairly quickly but leaves decent lace.

S - spicy yeast notes of plum, red apples, cinnamon, and clove.

T - red apple and plum up front with some bread and caramel. More fruity character in the middle with clove and cinnamon. Finishes with sugary, dark malt, plum and lingering caramel apple.

M - medium-thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

D - very nicely done, this is one of the best, most authentic belgian dubbels that I've had from an american brewery. The malt character is spot on with a nice, fruity yeast profile. Considering that this bottle was the better part of two years old when reviewed, it obviously hold up well to aging.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: single finger head with some thin retention and lacing. Deep amber and garnet, hazy body.

S: cola, dark fruit and fig mostly, some caramel malt.

T: Dark fruit and fig with a slight burnt toast finish. Caramel malt throughout.

M: oily, medium to thick body. moderate to high carbonation.

Overall this one is very good. More of a Dubbel by my tastes.

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Photo of SickGnar
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Warm ambery copper with a good size, slightly golden, off-white head. Settles slowly to a nice skim of foam. Second pour from 22oz bomber is far more hazy. Very minimal lace.

S: Very fruity – pears & plums mostly, but also hints of apples, dates, figs and more. Candied sweetness underlies the fruity esters. Good amount of rye spice in the background bready malts. Hint of Belgian yeast notes that grows as it warms, and is far more yeasty in the second pour from the bomber.

T: Spicy rye is foremost here. It adds a really nice kick to the bready & caramelly malts. Belgian yeast funk is even more present than the nose. The mélange of fruit esters is also here, but more focused on plum. Though balanced to malts, this is backed by a reasonably firm bitterness with strongly woody and slightly herbal hop character.

M: Medium plus body with carbonation to match. Quite a fair amount of tacky sugar sweetness up front, but it ends slightly drying.

D: A nice, very Belgian, pale ale. A regular pale – not a strong one – my bottle says abv 6.3%. Solid base pale with rich Belgian character & an interesting rye twist. Full of flavor and very drinkable.

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Photo of rudzud
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared by jlindros and poured into a tulip.

A - Poured into the tulip a hazy garnet with a white blanket that fades to leave light clouding and haloing.

S - Nice belgian yeast notes along with lots of apples and good funk. Nice spicey rye too.

T - Super funky belgian notes. Some good rye spice as well as, as someone else mentioned, some nice almost bark like quality on the tongue. Interesting...

M - A bit light on the carbonation for me. Its a nice crisp finish but would benefit from more carbonation.

O - Overall this beer was alright. White birch tends to be hit or miss and this one just barely, barely hit for me.

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

Batch 2, March 2011, 6.3% ABV

Very large, slowly fading head. LOTS of chunky lace on the glass. Orange-amber color with a moderate amount of cloudiness.

My initial impression is Root Beer, but completely dry. On second smell, I detect what reminds me of freshly peeled bark--something I've never smelled before in a beer. It's appealing and unusual.

The first notable taste is the classic taste of Belgian yeast. Very smooth, rich body with a good amount of carbonation. While the beer is in the mouth, it's completely malty (and yeasty). The swallow brings out the bittering hop. More of a balancing touch than a kick in the throat.

Batch 3 from May 2011 (7.0% abv)

This batch smells of deep, sweet caramel. The taste is similar with warming alcohol in the background. Based on my previous notes, this seems to be quite different.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.12/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to d0b for sharing this one from the depths of the cellar. Served in a Bell's tulip. Batch 1, Bottle #113 of 288. Bottled March 3rd, 2010.

A - A half-finger of white foam settles to a thin ring and some spotty haze on top, leaving minimal lacework. The body is a lightly hazed dark orange color.

S - Smell is not what I expected. Initially there's a heft dose of rye and mild citrus, but then some sour apple, Pez, light acetone, and lactic notes emerge. Reminds me a little of infected Matilda, or the surprisingly decent White Birch BA Rye Four. In any case, it's a pleasant aroma, just not what I expected.

T - Taste is less good - apples, hint of garbage, alcohol heat, and harsh astringency as it warms up. Rye is present, but seems overwhelmed by off flavors.

M - Lower carbonation, slightly gritty and slimy at the same time?! Medium-full body, and reasonably well hidden alcohol for the listed ABV.

D - It's in the top 20% of White Birch beers I've had, but it's still not very good. Started off promising, but sort of went of the rails a bit.

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

Bottled: mar 2011
Batch: Two
Bottle # 1170

A spot-on amber in color, light delicate head, fluffy and fizzy.

Dry, very subtle nose, earthy and natural. Pleasant rye and wheat, pepper and herbs, dry hard wood.

A righteously crispy feel and flavor of rye, wheat and peppery yeast, subtle yeast though. Pretty complex, amber malt, slightly tangy aftertaste. the house yeast has pretty good complexity overall.

Bring it! NH brewers!

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Photo of LukeD23
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mucky mahagony with a thin head.

Aroma is really intreuging. I really like the complexity of dates and cocoa. Dried fruits meld well with spicy yeast character.

Flavor is good as well. Cocoa and a hint of toffee roll into a spicy peppery dry finish.

The mouthfeel is full upfront but finishes thin and dry.

I like this beer and am very impressed with it coming from a nano!

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Photo of ppoitras
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased at Table & Vine, West Springfield, MA. Batch Four, Bottled December 10, 2010, Bottle Count 768.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head over the cloudy red brew. Head fades slowly, with leggy, but fleeting lacing. Aroma is fruity, with rich depth of spicing.

Taste starts lightly sweet, middle finds a mouthful of spicing, from probably both rye and yeast. Close is citrus and lightly bitter. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, and drinkability is good as well. Could use a bit more depth/chewiness, but flavors are interesting and enjoyable.

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Photo of Brad007
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful amber color with hints of gold and a nice, fluffy head into my glass.

Spicy rye mingles with the yeast in the nose. A hint of plum is also there.

Lots of alcohol heat upfront followed by spicy rye, plum and a slight amount of apple/cherry from the yeast. Again, the heat makes it hard to find the flavors.

Lingering alcohol heat, rye and plum in the mouthfeel. Again, very disappointing.

I'm not sure what went wrong here but drinkability is just not there. Very hard to enjoy as it is. Might need some aging.

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Photo of FrankLloydMike
4.49/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber (bottled 12/10/10, batch 4, 7.0% ABV) poured into a flute.

A: Mahogany with a cherry inlay; hazy, neatly opaque; medium, off-white head dissipates somewhat quickly, and leaves little to no lacing. The color is very nice, though, and lends an air of anticipation during the pour.

S: Wonderful, slightly tart nose overall; big whiff of figs, maybe plum in the background; nice malt balance; I don't get much in the way of yeast in the nose. This smell is intoxicating, though, and reminds me quite a bit of a gruit... it's a scent I've smelled often in CBC beers, actually, but few times elsewhere until now.

T: Mostly true to the nose, though the rye malts are much more present; the fig is there for sure, but it's darting in and out; dry yeast follows; and the sip rounds out with a pleasant, but mild sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is ever so slightly weak; with all the breadiness I expect something a bit chewier, but this is quite light. It does not approach watery by any means, but it is lighter than expected. That does, however, lend the beer a certain drinkability, which I appreciate.

O: An excellent beer; I love the smell and the taste, and would gladly have a second if I had one. This is probably up there with Hooksett Ale as my favorite White Birch offerings. The lower (for WB) 7.0% ABV is nice, and the beer is a joy to drink. The light body is the weakest aspect, but I don't mind it in the least given how much I enjoy the taste and smell. I'll be looking for a few of these next time it's out.

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Photo of Satchboogie
2.94/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bomber (bottled 12/10/10, batch 4, 7% ABV) poured into a chalice.

A: Dark brown, opaque and hazy, I get an inch of head with a hard pour.

S: Somewhat muted, I get brown sugar, a little clove spiciness, not much else. As it warms on the second pour I get a load of dish detergent. Very off-putting.

T: Flavors are pretty light, first I get a little sugar and spice, slightest floral hops, and Belgian yeast. Behind it comes a decent bit of rye and lightly toasted malts. Unfortunately the flavor seems to die off pretty quick from the middle to finish, leaving you with a mostly hollow flavor. This is all about the malt and rye, yet its practically missing. Finish is bland with just a little spice and touch of brown sugar and rye. On the second glass after it warmed while the flavor does get a little stronger I get some soapiness as well.

M: Light carbonation, fairly light body, dry mouthfeel and finish.

O: This was one of my favorites from a recent White Birch tasting, but this bottle really let me down. Perhaps this seemed better than it was coming after a bunch of sub-par beers from White Birch. The flavor is nice, but unfortunately it's very subdued and fades almost instantly. A thin and watery body doesn't help the cause. The flavors do get a little stronger as it warms, but unfortunately a dish detergent aroma/flavor also comes into the mix. Another let down from White Birch, I've all but given up on them. The only bright spot seems to be their Hooksett ale and to a lesser degree Tavern Ale. Skip everything else.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a two finger white head that fades quickly leaving traces of lace. Ugly murky brown color, with some yeast left in bottle. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Fruity nose and flavor is fruit that is neither tart nor sweet. Good but not a Belgian strong ale. Higher ABV (label has 7.0%) is hidden. Bottled Dec 10, 2010, batch 4. $9.49 for a 22oz bottle, from Concord Cooperative Concord, NH.

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Photo of meatyard
3.64/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, deep amber with a short, tan head that dissipates immediately without lace. It may be strong but it's not pale.

The smell is nicely fruity with some citrus and a bit of fig (an odd mix).

The taste has the same qualities as the aroma plus a light tartness.

Mouthfeel is medium with moderate carbonation and feels dry in the finish.

Overall: It goes down pretty easily for being something that doesn't quite fit to style. Alcohol is well hidden and it has moments, just not enough.

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Photo of david18
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't know that I'd have characterized this as a belgian strong pale as it had a lot more going on than a typical belgian strong pale. It almost reminded me of a typical Bruery beer. Overall it wasn't bad, a little strong but a lot of fruit character.

Color was almost amber more than it was pale. Typical of a belgian style ale there was a lot of active carbonation that lasted a long time. Aroma had a lot of fruit, citrus, plum and banana. Flavor was a little hot but also featured the same characteristics as the aroma. Overall an ok beer but not my favorite. I am curious about this brewery, it's one of two beers I got from them and would love to try some others.

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Photo of russpowell
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from LarryG in my last trade, review based on notes from about 2 months ago...

Bottle 111 of 504 pours an effervescent chestnut & a sliver of mocha head. Some floaties, average head retention & lacing

S: Pears, cherries & some oaky notes

T: Tartness, figs, a bit of apple peel & candi sugar up front. Dryness, peppery notes imparted from the rye as this warms along with much pear & apple & some sour notes. Finishes warming, with a slightly figgy boozeyness & more tartness

MF: Medium bodied & slight carbonation

Drinks easy, a bit off style, but a nice sour none the less...

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Photo of akorsak
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Bill for this 650 mL bottle at BCTC. Batch 3, bottle 25 of 504.

A: The ale has a dark amber color, caramel-like, or perhaps cola-like. An off-white head, a finger or so on pour, dissapates gradually, leaving only a thin band behind.

S: Dark caramel malts, musty Belgian yeast, a dash of spicy dark rye. A bit of molasses and dark candi sugars round things out.

T: Rye and darker caramel flavors are present, leading things off. Sour green apples follow, an unusual follower to the dark malts. The yeast dries my mouth out, forcing me to take another sip. Chocolate is slow to emerge but it does, a second banana to the tartness. Interesting? Yes. Belgian? To its core. The rye/chocolate/apple finish is a nice deal-sealer.

M: The mouthfeel is unique. The tartness seems out of place at first, only to mature nicely into the roll. As a rye afficionado, I'd live to taste more of that spicy grain, but that's a minor complaint.

D: A BSPA? That's pretty damned dark to me. That being said, the ale has a lot going on; unfortunately it misses the mark sometimes. I suppose that's a sign of brilliance though: some get it and some don't. As a plus, the 10% is well-hidden.

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Photo of GeezLynn
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Bottle 67 out of 228. Bottle obtained in a trade with markskar

Color is a cloudy golden orange with a modest white head sitting atop. Retention is not too impressive.

Hops and yeast are pretty apparent in the aroma, but I don't get any spicy notes as expected with the rye. It does have some nice apple and pear characters along with some vinegar.

Flavor starts slightly bitter, with some sweet fruit (apple in particular), lemon, and then quickly moves to a malty bread flavor. The finish is abrupt and surprisingly clean. No off flavors, but very soft to the point of blandness, which I don't look for in this style.

Mouthfeel is quite thin with low carbonation. Very unsatisfying and probably the biggest weakness for this beer.

Overall, the flavor and aroma were decent, but too watered-down. Not bad, but I didn't pick up much rye and don't think this would stand up very well to some of the food pairings suggested on the bottle. On the positive side, the 10.1% abv was hidden very well.

Thanks Mark!

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Photo of boothbeer
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to jrae2424 for this bottle. Bottle 115/228. 10.1%

A: Pours a cloudy golden straw yellow with a tiny bubble white head. Good head retention.

S: Really like the aroma. Nice spicy yeast smell. Some lemon zest as well as tart green apples. Little bit of cloves and cinnamon. But the rye is hidden.

T: Lots of breadiness to this one. None of the citrus in the flavor that I picked up in the aroma. However, I do pick up some rye here. Bitter hops in the finish. Sounds strange, but this lacks a flavor. Sort of bland. I was expecting better after the nice aroma.

M: Body is on the thin side with low carbonation. Leaves the mouth dry.

D: Went down easy for 10%. Good summer time beer, but wish it had a better flavor profile.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.71/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A-pours a hazy golden amber color with a tight white head and notes of yellow edges.

S-the nose is faint, tart lemon up front, mild notes of yeast with a faint spicy clove, hints of herbal grass in the back.

T-a little watery in the taste, notes of banana and lemon up front, spicy clove, light sourness to it with some soft golden peaches in the finish.

M-very light body, soft and smooth, a little too thin for a strong belgian and the carbonation is too high for the body hiding much of the flavor.

D-overall this is a little lacking in many departments. there is nothing wrong with the aromas or flavors; but the carbonation and thin body seem to mask what could be decent about this beer.

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Photo of billab914
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 1 poured from a 22oz bottle into my lost Abbey stemware. Poured a murky amber color with a thin but sticky white head to it. The head clung to the edges of the glass and left some moderate lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a sweet, citrusy, fruity flavor going on. Some apple and pear flavors come through along with a moderate citrus, almost orange peel like flavor. Some hints of rye seem to be present but I'm not sure if I would have gotten them if it weren't written on the bottle.

The taste shows a bit more of the bready rye flavor but it's still a pretty light flavor overall. Apple, pear, grape come through with more of a dry tartness and the citrus found in the nose is present as well. The citrusy and tart fruity flavors work pretty nicely together overall though.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is moderate. Drinkability is pretty decent, it had some good flavors to it and felt a lot lighter then I thought it would given the 10% abv. Enjoyable beer overall.

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Photo of jlindros
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch #3.

A: Pours a semi thick rich head that fades somewhat quickly, and then stops at a lighter head covering. A dark beer with a brown sugar raisin color, and hints of light barely getting through.

N: Lots of sweet malts, some dark malts and pale malts alike. Dark rich fruits, raisin, plum, even a very slight pumpkin, and more. Then a slight spice aroma that would come with pumpkin beers but extremely light, and some rye with all that. A slightly spicy but mostly fruity rye aroma.

T: Starts with a lot of fruit, tons of it. It has some rye malt flavors, mostly fruity rye and not a lot of spicy rye. Lots of malts, dark and pale, and pretty sweet. It has some toasty sugars, molasses, and a touch of yeast. Slight booze with that too. The fruits are all over the board, it's hard to label which ones, and there's definitely some sour fruits in there too. It also has some honey and sweet braggot like flavors, that are not as much my cup of tea. The booze adds a slight warming and tingly feel.

M: Medium body with good carbonation, and then some warming tingly booze.

F: Finishes still pretty sweet but dries quite a bit. It then gets more of that fruit flavor that I can't label, with more rye, again fruity rye and not so much spicy. A little malt flavors too, with some syrupy sticky sweet flavors also lingering.

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Photo of CheckMate
4.64/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber from the second batch obtained at The Drinkery in Londonderry, NH split with BA member MrHurmateeowish. pours a murky brown with about a half inch of off white head. scent of spicy rye immediately jumps at the nose with nothing in the background. taste of spicy rye bread, with some earthy hops in the background. medium bodied and moderate carbonation. the first sip invites another. the beer reminds me of a nice artisan bread. I will definitely be picking up another bomber or two of this!


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White Birch Wrigian from White Birch Brewing
3.81 out of 5 based on 53 ratings.
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