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White Birch Indulgence Ale | White Birch Brewing

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White Birch Indulgence AleWhite Birch Indulgence Ale

Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Permit us to indulge our creative side. Made with copious amounts of chocolate malts. Highlights include sweet chocolate aromas and dark chocolate and coffee notes in the finish. Smooth, deceptive and decadent. Not a stout, not a porter, pitch black and just plain fun. The chocolate malt and our grain mill disagree vigorously so we only make this from time to time.

Added by Bierman9 on 04-22-2010

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Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 77
Photo of jdhilt
4.45/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two finger light tan head that fades quickly leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights, ton of yeast left in bottle. medium carbonation and light-medium bodied. Chocolate nose and flavor is sweet chocolate, no soy sauce, smooth chocolate/coffee finish. High (10%) ABV is hidden. $10.99 for a 22oz bottle from Bert's Better Beers Hooksett, NH

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Photo of Brad007
4.3/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first White Birch beer. I'm shocked they haven't made it up my way yet, picked up this bottle at Bauer Wines & Spirits in Boston.

Pours a pitch black color with a one-finger stout. I notice the style says American Strong Ale. I don't think so.

Roasted coffee and chocolate are apparent in the nose. Feels more like a stout than the listed style.

Rich and full of dark fruit, coffee and chocolate notes. I can see where it would confuse the person who first added it. I'm guessing they aren't familiar with stouts.

Coffee bean and cream hang around at the back of the the throat. Very pleased to have their company.

I don't understand how this beer could possibly get a low score. Perhaps earlier batches lack consistency? I will never know but by reading some of the other reviews, I believe the people doing those reviews seem to be missing a lot of positive things here. Sure as hell isn't any DMS here.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.17/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black with a thinnish tan head that exudes almost soda like dissipation of the bubbles. There's a steady carb stream coming up the middle leaving a tan ring on the outside edge of my glass. Smells of milk chocolate and fudge right up front. Slightly earthy with a spice in the background kind of reminds me of rye. Taste is earthy and spicy as the smell suggests with a slight mineral water type taste in there as well. Oh yeah there's a crap load of chocolate in the taste as well. The aroma suggested milk chocolate, but the taste is darker bitter chocolate. There's a long lingering chocolate/coffee bite in the finish. Medium level of carbonation, medium to full body, thick sticky syrupy mouthfeel. Wow that's a great chocolate shake, er uhm I mean beer. I am enjoying the hell out of this one. I guess the subtlety fairy that usually finds Bill's beer is on vacation this week. :)

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Pours oily black with a thin, brown head of foam. The dense froth clears the surface fairly quick with a partial skim coat for the duration of the glass. Dotted lacing with a few strings as the glass goes.

Aromatics lead off with a blast of rich chocolate. Hints of espresso and roasted malts way in the back but the lush, dark chocolate aroma is very pronounced.

Full bodied with an oily chew. Crisp and a bit creamy.

The palate starts with bitter bakers chocolate, roasted malts, and shaved char. Shades of tart fruit step forward as well as plenty of drying bitterness.

Finishes with lingering bakers chocolate, tart cherries, and espresso grounds.

Unlike any chocolate beer I've ever had. The nose promises rich, sweet chocolate but the palate delivers dry, bitter chocolate with citric, tart undertones.

The dryness and perplexing character just seems to make one sip invite another. Nice.

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Photo of mactrail
4.08/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Dark black" in the big wine glass. Nice brownish head that bubbles out of a very foam-filled beer. Almost nitro-fueled, but with coarser bubbles. The carbonation, the deep flavors, and the syrupy texture give this beer a big, rich mouth feel. As black as it is, I don't taste much of the sourness that burnt malt can give, and the sweetness helps balance that. But this ale is so full of dark flavors that it is deeply explores the many ways of roast, toast, and barbecue malt. Fruit with the sweet part, a hint of cherries. Lots of cocoa flavors without the old coffee taste of some stouts.

Interesting that there is such wide variation in the way reviewers taste and score this beer. And the brewers don't identify it with a specific style, which is maybe the American way, long may it wave. But I think it's closer to an Imperial Stout than anything. And I think it's great. Label says February 2011, Batch 2, 9.0% ABV.

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Photo of Gmann
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black color with a rapidly raising airy brown head that just as quickly settles into a solid cap. Very fizzy at first but has some holding strength.

The aroma has a nice subtle roast aroma with some scorched caramel, some brown bread and a hint of wet bark. Reminds me of a porter or brown ale aroma. Perhaps a slight sour berry scent.

The taste is of a nice toasted brown bread, pumpernickle, wet wood and light toast & roast. Perhaps a hint of chocolate. The beer has a nice caramel under-current to it. Has a really delicious brown ale flavor.

The feel is light to moderate with extremely fizzy carbonation. Way way way way too fizzy. It takes away from the lovely flavor. The body feels light but it is hard to tell from the carbonation burn. Finishes nice and earthy.

I really like this beer but way too fizzy, especially for the style and malt body. Its like champagne yeast in a brown ale. Cut back on the carb and this is a top notch brew.

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Photo of akorsak
4.02/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A wax-capped bomber, personalized from my brother and sister-in-law.

A: The ale is pitch black, absolute darkness in all of its murky depth. The viscous brew is a sight to behold. A dark tan head, a cordoban leather color, leaves a few patches of lace from a rather vigourous pour.

S: The nose is roasted, burnt malts and coffee, cut with the sweet by-products of Belgian yeast. Nuts and toffee along with spicy fruits drive home the Belgian stout hybrid.

T: Mmmm, roasty. The stout is formidable, dark and burnt. Toffee, nuts and chocolate are prevalent, each adding depth to the stout's body. Belgian yeast makes a strong impression, sweetening up the dark body with fruits and spices. I detect some cinnamon along with pale fleshy fruits. The Belgian flavors are strongest in the last third of the bomber. Generally though, the stout rules the day in a very warming way, much stronger than the label's 7.1% would indicate. This is a beer that I can get behind (and my name is on the label).

M: The mouthfeel is big, much larger than the label suggests. A warming stout, the sweeter flavors are a welcome diversion.

D: The ale feels much, much bigger than it actually is. That limits the drinkability of the stout. Too bad because the richness of the flavors is very nice.

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Photo of david18
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whenever I see beers on cask that I haven't had that way before I always order a taste and I'm often a little disappointed. Not in this case. The flavor was so complex and interesting that I ordered a couple of pints.

Poured very dark with not too much head, which isn't surprising considering it was cask ale. Enough to make it appetizing.

The aroma was of complex dark fruit as well as chocolate and dark roast.

The flavor was similar to the aroma and did not disappoint. Very complex and very good.

Overall, I like this beer a lot and can't wait to find it on CO2 draft or in bottles. Get it if you can find it.

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Photo of abuliarose
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a wide-mouthed snifter to reveal a thick, rich-looking head with uneven bubbling over dark black body. Very attractive pour, some lacing. Smells like rich, roasty malts with notes of licorice, vanilla and a hint of mace.

Tastes very roasted (very, very roasted) from the malts, but with surprisingly light body and smooth texture. A little nutty in the finish. Not sweet. Ever so slightly drying. I can see this pairing well with your main course-type meal. Slight spicy character from the yeast. Carbonation is big and gentle. The flavor is bold, but because of the texture and lightness it's pretty drinkable. Alcohol is well-hidden.

Overall, this is one of the better strong ales I've had and certainly one of a kind. I'm glad to have tried it.

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Photo of younger35
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received yet another White Birch brew from my main man out in the Conn. I was a bit disappointed in my first White Birch sampling but I expect this to be much better. Drank from my spanking new Ithaca nonic pint glass.

Bottle 75 of 204

Appearance- Pours a midnight black with a half finger dark brown creamy head. A spotty cap and collar remains along with maybe a fleck or two of lacing.
Smell- Pretty rich and roasted with a big charred maltiness and a bit of sweet chocolate. The char on the malts are full throttle as they give an almost bitter roasted nose. Plenty of chocolate and coffee notes that you'd expect and a really almost 'dry' smell. Maybe a tinge of vanilla or cream as well.
Taste- Very interesting. Starts with a very dry bite of straight up grainy, raw 2-row. It's doughy and damn prevalent until a light touch of roast sneaks in along with an almost chalky bit of chocolate. A bit of caramel (not sweet in the least though) sneaks in along with a super light touch of vanilla. The finish is dry and lightly bitter and chocolaty.
Mouthfeel- on the light side of medium with a nice frisky zip of carbonation.
Drinkability- Overall the beer is s bit different from anything I've ever had but in a enjoyable way. It's chocolaty and grainy and the 8.5% is nowhere to be found. Interesting and tasty, thanks Adam!

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dahk. Black. Medium brown head that is effervescent to varying degrees.

S: A little funky, kind of like a quad or dubbel, and every some tart yeast. Like.

T: Definitely a little phenolic and funky character but it works very well with the effervescent quality and dark malt flavors of chocolate, roasted oats, and some fig.

M: Smooth, medium to slightly high carbonation which accentuates modest tart flavors.

O: I like this a lot. I could drink a whole pint but 3-5oz is perfect.

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Photo of smcolw
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On this bottle, the apv is 9% (batch #2, February 2011)

90% head on the initial pour. It takes a couple of minutes to recede. Surprisingly little lace on the glass. The liquid is near where no light shines through.

Strong semi-sweet chocolate aroma--this smells like a freshly opened bag of Nestle Toll House Chips. There's also a touch of whole milk and alcohol, like a White Russian cocktail.

The flavor reminds me of a Russian Imperial Stout: Strong black coffee is the initial flavor. Absolutely no creaminess. The swallow is bitter, mostly from the abundant black patent malt but there's also a bit of dry hop. The aftertaste has a Kahlua element to it--long lasting coffee and the warming presence of alcohol. A near extreme beer.

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled March 19th, 2010
Batch 2
Bottle 74 of 204

Poured into a Portsmouth tulip glass. This is one dark beer. Essentially black in color with a thin tan head on top. No lacing left behind.

The aroma is strong with darkly roasted malts and dark chocolate. Very roasty and slightly earthy. Hints of fruit in the background. Possibly a byproduct of the house yeast?

The flavor is not what you would expect based on the appearance and aroma. As I tipped back the glass I was expecting a thick, roasty chocolate flavor and was instead greeted by a strong wave of black malt and fruit. Exploring the flavor further I can pick out bits of cherry, bittersweet chocolate and sharp cheddar cheese notes at times. Berries and a touch of smokiness/peaty. Very interesting, yet hard to pull apart.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the watery side. Smooth, ample carbonation and slightly warming. The mouthfeel is a bit of surprise based on the appearance.

Drinkability is good. For an 8.5% strong ale, the alcohol is well masked. The flavor is quite unique and keeps pulling you back in for another sip. I could see this beer pairing well with BBQ or steak. One bottle is about the right size.

Overall, this is another tasty brew from White Birch. I'll have to say that I'm still a bit confused by the flavor, but I guess this isn't a stout, even though it looks like one. Strong Black Ale would probably be the correct definition. With that definition in mind I actually quite like this brew and am looking forward to trying another bottle or two down the road. Worth checking out.

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Photo of DIM
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: This had a black body and poured with a thick, creamy looking, extremely dark head.

s: Wonderful dark chocolate aromas take center stage. In the backround lurks some soft Belgian yeast notes.

t: Milder than the smell would suggested it would be. The chocolate is there, but it is blunted by the yeastiness to a greater extent here.

m: Velvety body with creamy carbonation.

d: White Birch has done some atrange and wonderful things. I liked this but it wasn't my favorite from them. Keep 'em coming though.

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Photo of John_M
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Listed on this site and on the bottle as a strong ale... this beer looks and smells for all the world like a stout to me.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with pretty good head retention and light lacing. The nose is interesting, consisting of considerable licorise and roasted malt, with a hint of chocolate and vanilla in the background. The flavor profile is a bit more enjoyable, as the licorice blends in better with the chocolate, vanillla and moderately sweet malt. The beer dries out a bit on the finish, and the mouthfeel is fairly full, with a long, soft finish. Alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile in this beer, and I get no heat from alcohol in the finish.

Nothing extraordinairy here, but a solid beer nonentheless.

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Photo of glid02
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle via trade with sisuspeed - thanks!

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of heavily roasted malts with good amounts of dark chocolate and lighter amounts of char. Also present are mild amounts of roasted coffee.

Tastes alright. Heavy roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by good amounts of dark chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip the malt flavors turn slightly off with mild amounts of bruised and mildly tart dark fruits. The off-flavors fade out into roasted coffee flavors that carry through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this is one of the better beers I've had from WB however I've still yet to have one that really hit on all facets of a good beer.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 10/9/11

Appearance: Jet black with a little brown around the edges when held up to the light - a huge tan head thanks to a borderline ridiculous amount of carbonation

Smell: Somewhat one-dimensional, with a ton of chocolate, but nice - burnt, roasted, charred malts - dark baker's chocolate, cocoa - some tartness with some dark fruits

Taste: A little odd, but good - tons and tons of chocolate malts - excessively burnt - other than the burnt bitterness, there are some interesting flavors here, mainly baker's chocolate - some dark fruits, some tartness - alcohol is quite obvious

Mouthfeel: Absurdly carbonated - not in a nice, bottle-conditioned foamy way, either - very fizzy, very bubbly - otherwise, smooth, light body

Overall: Strange, but worth a try

I guess this really fits into the American Strong Ale category because it certainly doesn't fit anywhere else. It's as burnt as an imperial stout, but it's really light in body. It's very bitter, without a chewy malt backbone. It would probably be a lot better with less carbonation and perhaps something like oatmeal to add to the body.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.82/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled March 19,2010
Batch 1
Bottle 165 of 204
This beer was a black color with a really thick orange/brown head that disappeared quickly.
Nice aroma: chocolate, yeast, roasted malt, and licorice.
Tasted more of coffee, still some chocolate. Cereal.
Fairly good mouthfeel, a little too carbonated for me.

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Photo of JAFoley
3.76/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - vigorous pour barely raises a bubbly dark tan head over an opaque dark body. Decent retention with lots of foamy lacing.

S - fruits, caramel, and chocolate

T - dark smoke and cherry, tangy and super sugary. Alcohol is strong throughout and lingers in the medicine flavor aftertaste.

M - full body with light fine carbonation. Super creamy and smooth

O - this was very enjoyable. Lots of good flavors but intense, so it's hard to drink a full pint

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Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin beige head that has good retention properties.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of coffee in the nose.
T: The taste is very rich and has complex flavors of chocolate, coffee and hints of roasted malts. A light amount of bitterness is present in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and thick on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The alcohol is well hidden, which makes this beer very easy to drink considering tis strength.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 117 of 442

Pours a dark chocolate color with a nice dark chocolate head.

Smell of mostly chocolate, some belgian yeast, and some caramelized sugars.

Taste of roasted milk chocolate, dark roasted malts, oatmeal, belgian yeast flavors, and caramelized sugars. Slightly dry tasting for a strong ale, but I would venture to say this is a stout vs American Strong Ale. Maybe no black patent, but enough chocolate malt to make up for that if that is the case.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Not a bad beer

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Photo of GbVDave
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a White Birch glass. Special thanks to Vanillamike for both the beer and the glass from our latest trade!

Bottled March 19, 2010
Batch One
Bottle 122 of 204
ABV Alc. 8.0% by Vol.

A: Gorgeous black pour. Totally dark. Immediately, a full 2 1/2 fingers of immensely dark tan foam (that looked to have been sprinkled with rust) sprung up to the rim of the glass before quickly receding to a creamy collar that left no lace.

S: Heavily roasted chocolate malt, bittersweet and/or bakers chocolate, cherry, and bright, sour berries. The unripe berry tang is a bit odd, but not off putting.

T: Just like above. Loads of bitter, burnt, and earthy chocolate flavors break during the middle and give way to that sour and tangy berry flavor.

M: Right out of the fridge, this was a bit too thin and dry. Warming to cellar temp thickens it a bit, but the sour berry reintroduces a thinness back into it.

D: Reading the label and checking out the color of the pour had me expecting something a little different. The sour facet of this detracted slightly from the other stuff going on in here. Certainly not bad, just not what I had hoped for.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got the chance to try two of the new offerings last night. This one was broken out for the finish at the end of the night. Served chilled and poured into a snifter, this one was consume on 06/25/2010.

The pour was dark, very dark with light garnet hints around the sides of the glass and a nice little tight head of light brown that just barely covers the entire top of the glass.

Aroma is deep smoked malts, hints of dark german chocolate an touches of coffee. Warming brings out a light prune or lum note, slight tartness and hint of light sour in here now. Hmm, not sure where this is going. It had me initially with the dark chocolate and smokey notes, but the fruit/sour taste just does not seem to work here. Distracts more then blends. Carbonation seemed a little low for me if it was going to go in that direction.

Overall it was a good beer, but this is just a touch off for me. The fruit note seems to be pulling me away. Still solid though.

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Photo of ElGallo
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled March 19, 2010. Batch One. Bottle 125 of 204. Poured into a cervoise.

The initial pour produced a decent mocha head a top a pitch black liquid, but the head vanished. Some lacing throughout the tasting.

Not much going on in the nose. Kinda bland. Taste gives you notes of roasted dark malts, some chalkiness, a little semi-sweet chocolate. Overall it tastes like a basic if not thin porter.

I cellared this for some time expecting an interesting result, but there's not much going on here. Worth trying, and certainly not bad, but it's one of those "been there, done that" brews.

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Photo of jlindros
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this as part of the infamous White Birch tasting at the Holistic Dramming Institute, thanks to Tim. Notes will probably be short since there were so many different beers to note, and drink.

Batch two, March 2010.

Essentially pitch black beer with a dark small head covering.

Nose has some light roast, some malts, coffee, and a little malty.

Taste brings more roast, dark malts, coffee, a bit of dark fruits, light chocolate, a little smooth, but still somewhat bland and seems like it's missing something. Light burnt roasted malts, some earthy hops, a bit of smoke as well.

Mouth is lighter, a little watery as well, decent carbonation.

Drink is decent, lighter overall, some bitterness but not a lot, light booze.

Again, this was a terrible followup to 80+35=20, also somewhat disappointing.

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White Birch Indulgence Ale from White Birch Brewing
3.5 out of 5 based on 77 ratings.
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