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 Arbitrator
1.03/5  rDev -70.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Shared by nickd717, I believe.

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black, in the glass. Short retention on its dark brown head.

S: This is interesting: there was a strongly vegetal smell that largadeer finally identified as cauliflower. Thanks, Chris. Chocolate, smoked malt. A strange grainy sourness.

T: Grainy sourness -- I'd suggest it has the lactic twang of a milk stout, but it seems like too much of an off-flavor to be that generous. Cooked vegetables drizzled with chocolate. Slightly smoky finish.

M: Medium-bodied, lacking in presence. Kind of a chemical, artificial feel to it.

D: An all-around terrible beer. It defines bottom tier pretty handily.

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Photo of brentk56
1.57/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Batch One: 3/19/10

Appearance: A motor oil pour; just a thin film of tan-colored head on top; a few strands of lace

Smell: Phenolic and sour, with soy sauce underneath

Taste: Starts out with a combination of soy sauce and vinegar, with the sourness building through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I have never rated a beer with a "1" for smell and taste before, but this one deserves it

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Photo of largadeer
2.06/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nickd717 shared this one. Thanks, Nick.

Black in the glass with a collar of tan foam, this looks solid. Big roasted malt aroma, oatmeal and chocolate and a strange cooked vegetable aroma that makes me think of cauliflower. Taste is a bit tart up front, berry-like. Coffee and roasted malt follows, along with a strange vegetable flavor that grows increasingly detracting the more I drink this. Finishes thin and roasty with lingering coffee, chocolate cookie and vegetables. What a wonderful combination. Pretty bad stuff, we indulged the drain with most of the bottle.

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Photo of mdaschaf
2.33/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Found this one in the back of the cellar and decided it was time to drink it.

A: Pours thin and black in color. A small head forms upon pouring but is gone quickly and leaves behind no lacing at all.

S: A very strange combination of vinegar/sour, maple, chocolate, and smoked malt.

T: Again, has a sourness up front. Very grainy, can almost feel the malt on my tongue. Some roasted malt and chocolate round it out.

M: Medium bodied, not much carbonation. Has a vinegary twang to it.

O: Not a fan at all, difficult to drink as well. Not sure if the sourness was on purpose or something happened along the way.

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Photo of Bierman9
2.55/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Artied2 picked this up recently, and he stopped by tonight to share this with me. Bottled 19MAR10, Batch #1, Bottle 44 of 204.

Poured about 11oz each into a small tulip. Color was an opaque, deep brown, like the crude gushing into the Gulf. Head was creamy and tan, though it ebbed quickly to a thin rim-job. No lacing to speak of, though. Aroma was very nice (the best part, in retrospect!). There's lots of choco here, with roasty coffee and some inviting bitterness. Looked and smelled like a stout. Body was a little thinner than medium, yet it was still fairly smooth going down.

Taste? Welll.... Both Artied2 and I looked at each other after our first quaffs. Uh-oh! It's verry dry; no sweetness at all. There's some chocolate there, but it's like an overly bitter dark choco. Lots of burnt, charred notes come in, with a sourish, off-putting attack on the palate at the finish. Almost medicinal or, as The Boy said, chemical-like. Artie gave me the rest of his, and I couldn't finish either. Even Alewife took a short sip and said "nope"... But it does look and smell good....


look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | drink: 1


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Photo of womencantsail
2.73/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Finally, an end to the White Birch beers. Shared by Bobby.

A: The pour is black in color with a huge tan head.

S: Like so many other white birch beers, just an unpleasant aroma. It's quite acidic with excessive roasted malt aromas. A bit of coffee and spoiled cocoa, maybe some char.

T: Lightly sweet, but fairly watery and acidic. Like the nose, there is some old cocoa and chocolate flavor. A bit of paper and cardboard as well.

M: Light bodied with medium to high carbonation.

O: Just unfortunate.

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Photo of MasterSki
2.73/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Reagan1984 for this extra. Served in a Stone IRS tulip.

A - Good looking brew. Finger-plus of mocha foam settles to a partial cap and chunky ring of foam, leaving splotches of lacework. Near-black solid dark brown body.

S - Smells like chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, dark multi-grain bread, with a faint yeasty note.

T - Alcohol is well-hidden. Unfortunately, so is the flavor. Very chalky and bland, with some burnt and char notes. Chocolate has somehow vanished. Starts tolerable, but ends horrific, like soda water almost.

M - Harsh carbonation, thin body - consistent with nearly everything I've had from this brewery. Like carbonated water, but with a tannic, astringent finish.

D - I had a few ounces and saw no point in continuing to waste my liver's processing prowess. Not the worst White Birch beer by a long shot, but not recommended either.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
2.9/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Newer Batches are 10%, not 8.50%.

While it may be smooth as the brewery's description states, I did not find it decadent. It's kind of a mess. Most prominent style is Strong Ale, with stout/porter, and touch of rauchbier. I drank but did not enjoy. I am unlikely to purchase again.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.16/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I drank this after a horrible beer, and it tasted really good for a while by comparison.

A - Dark black beer with a bit of a khaki head to it. Some small bits of lacing left on the sides.

S - Dark fruit, little bit of chocolate and roast. Not sure what type of beer this was exactly, but old ale seemed incorrect. Maybe stout, possibly porter.

T - Not a ton going on, sweetness is its biggest character. Some dark fruit and chocolate, slight amount of roast. A bit bland and somehow too sweet, this isn't a very good beer, but actually a bit of a winner compared to a lot of White Birch beers I've had (in that it wasn't absolutely horrible).

M - Little bit light, moderate carbonation.

O - It's okay, it's not great, but it's not disguating and can actually drink it without feeling the urge to drain pour, swear, or rip on White Birch.

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Photo of thain709
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - The beer was served with a black body...there was a creamy, tan head standing about one finger tall...the head fell into a wispy cap and left some decent lacing

S - The nose was faint but I could pick up some chocolate, roasted malt, and some dark fruits

T - The roasted malts start things off with an almost burnt flavor...the roasted cocoa beans comes out in the middle but isn't very prominate...tart and sour dark cherries come in and takes over...it ends up finishing the beer as well

M - Medium bodied...smooth but too sour and tart

D - This is not what I was expecting...I thought I'd go out on a limb and try something different but I was not rewarded...faint roasted malts with a tart and sour dark cherry flavor that would not leave my palate

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Photo of tpd975
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours dark black with a small espresso head. No retention or lace.

S: Aromas of light roast, chocolate, coffee, and a strange sour notes.

T: Roasted for sure. The coffee and chocolate are there. Notes of light dark fruit and hints of molasses. The sourness I picked up in the nose is in the flavor as well. I have the feeling it is infection. Mostly tart dark fruit that does not seem to mend with the other flavors.

M: Medium in body, average carbonation.

D: Not really this one just does not come together. Infection going on here, or at least I hope the sourness is not intended.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a pitch black color stout with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of chocolate malt with light grainy notes. Taste is a somewhat weird mix between chocolate and grainy unrefined cereal. Body is slightly fuller then average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. First time I’ve had something form this brewer and this is leaving me perplexes.

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Photo of far333
3.24/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Inky dark blackish brown with ruddy highlights and a HUGE head of rocky foam that rises up way too high almost overflowing the glass even with a careful and controlled pour. The foam slowly sizzles down to a low fine cap.

Inviting aroma of roasty malt and cocoa, some bitter coffee and subtle smoke. Rich flavors of darkly roasted malt, cocoa, espresso, licorice, leather and smoke. Very malty, very chocolately.

Mouthfeel is where this beer falls apart. It is seriously overcarbonated. Even after the enormous head recedes, the beer is difficult to drink because it's so gassy. A big burp punctuates every other mouthful. There's a burning sensation in my mouth as physics takes over and the beer tries to degas itself on contact with the tongue and cheeks. I actually feel my cheeks expanding as it sizzles and bubbles. In all of that I can sense that the body is thin, could be more viscous. And to add insult to injury the last few sips have to fight with chunky sediment left in the bottom of the glass.

Overall this beer has potential, but the interesting flavors are overshadowed by the unpleasant experience of actually trying to drink it. This is the second beer from White Birch that has been way overcarbonated. The biggest "Indulgence" was that I paid $11 for this bomber. Ouch.

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Photo of nickd717
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber thanks to jleblanc. American Strong Ale? I'd call this a stout, straight up.

Pours just about black with a small tan head and good foam on top.

Aroma is very roasty and coffeeish with just a little vegetal note.

Flavor is not bad but a little tart. Very roasty with cold espresso and a little charcoal. Not terribly balanced but not bad.

Dry on the palate with medium body and medium-low carbonation.

A fairly well-done stout, but like many White Birch beers, a little off in a way.

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Photo of Dope
3.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Batch 1, bottled February 2011. 8% ABV, 840 bottle count.

A: Pitch black pour with a big fluffy EXTREMELY dark head. It's almost as dark as the body initially. Light, fluffy head dissipates fairly quickly. Zero lacing at all. Decent retention.

S: Heavy dark chocolate and dark fruits. A bit of a meaty, umami type aroma.

T: Dark chocolate and loads of smoke and umami. Middle is all umami, like drinking liquified BBQ beef. Almost get a little soy sauce. Mild dark fruits like raisin, fig and even cherry in the finish. Metallic in the aftertaste, like copper.

M: Very smooth, almost creamy with a medium body. Carbonation is a bit too high unfortunately, giving it a fluffy sort of mouthfeel.

O: A decent concept but just doesn't work. It's pretty much pure chocolate, meat and smoke. Odd combination. A belgian-style chocolate smoked porter? Not as good as that would imply...

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received this one a while back from Jrae2424... Thanks for the brews Jason!! #148/204.

Good looking tan head... nice retention and lacing.. the brew is the expected black.

Nose shows plenty of cocoa... along with a whole bunch of dark malt char.... okay... doesn't really smell "indulgent".

Flavor has some sweetness that helps bring out the chocolate a bit... but the roasted malt blackness seems pretty out of whack.. finishes dry and chalky.

Body is surprisingly thin... carbonation also was a touch too high. Glad I got a chance to try this one, but I was a little disappointed... Thanks Jason for another nice trade.


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Photo of rpstevens
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Portsmouth tulip. The beer pours a very inviting pitch black with a thick frothy mocha head. The head quickly fades, leaving behind some oily lacing.

The smell is great. A blast of dark chocolate introduces the flavor, followed by rich roasted coffee and hints of sweet milk chocolate. Underneath all the rich roasted elements there is a hint of floral hops and some light candied sugar sweetness.

The taste is not as good as the smell or the appearance, but it's still nice. The chocolate takes a back seat to the mild coffee flavors and the over-roasted malts. This one has a burnt malt quality, almost too much before the sweet milk chocolate brings it back from the edge.

The beer is well carbonated and light bodied, making it easy to drink. The alcohol, as with all White Birch brews, is completely hidden. This will be probably be my only bottle of Indulgence, as it's already gone in my area. A good, but not great beer.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.51/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz dark brown bottle. Bottled on date on front label.
Served in a tall nonic glass.
One of the tannest heads I've ever seen floats atop an impenetrable brown-tinted black body.
Smells of chocolate, coffee, licorice, root beer, wet gym socks, chimneys, with a bit of citrus peaking through, are all jumbled together.
The flavors are a bit all over the place as well. Cocoa, coffee with cream, fruit cup, banana bread, molasses, resinous and citrusy hops and warming alcohol blast around without any thought of balance or harmony, but then why not just make a really BIG freaking beer??!!?!??
It's not really a Schwarz or Imperial Schwarz or an Imperial Chocolate Stout, or anything in between. It is what it is.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle purchased as a single at Formaggion Kitchen, Cambridge, MA.

Poured into a Chimay chalice, formed a 3/4" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head holds well, literlly sizzling with small bubbles bursting and being replenished, with thick coating lace. Aroma is rich dark maltiness, with coffee notes.

Taste is dark sweetness to start, a peek of fruitiness in the middle, and lingering alcohol close that seems to increase in intensity as time passes. Mouthfeel is too bubbly, and lacking in body, and with okay drinkability. For $12, I want to be more impressed.

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Batch One, Bottle 80 of 204. Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass in two parts.

Appearance: Black in color with dark brown edges. One finger dark brown head sudsides to nothing pretty quickly.

Aroma: Dark chocolate and cocoa beans. Smoky tones throughout and even notes of espresso there too.

Taste: Like the aroma, the flavors are not overly complex. Unsweetened chocolate and cocoa beans are the predominant notes. No sweetness to counter the bitter chocolate. Smoke notes are also present here and there. Bitter chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Dry and medium bodied. Not a whole lot of carbonation to speak of. The dry mouthfeel is compounded by the bitterness.

Drinkability: The ABV really doesn't show through at all (although mine is labeled 8%). The bitterness can get overwhelming though. It needs a counter to keep it balanced.

Overall, an interesting beer that just happens to be a bit one-note. Too much bitter chocoalte and not enough of any other notes. Some dark fruit or milk chocolate notes would add some complexity and a better balance. A decent brew overall though.

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