White Birch Indulgence Ale | White Birch Brewing

White Birch Indulgence AleWhite Birch Indulgence Ale
Liked This Beer
3.52 w/ 77 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 77 |  Reviews: 45
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 MasterSki
2.73/5  rDev -22.4%
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 AgentZero
3.16/5  rDev -10.2%
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 Brad007
4.3/5  rDev +22.2%
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 metter98
3.73/5  rDev +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 thain709
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
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 ElGallo
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
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 +1.7%
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 JohnGalt1
3.41/5  rDev -3.1%
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 younger35
4/5  rDev +13.6%
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 lordofthewiens
3.82/5  rDev +8.5%
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 alpinebryant
3.73/5  rDev +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 glid02
3.83/5  rDev +8.8%
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 largadeer
2.06/5  rDev -41.5%
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 nickd717
3.38/5  rDev -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 Arbitrator
1.03/5  rDev -70.7%
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 DIM
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
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 GbVDave
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
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 +2.3%
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 Gosox8787
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
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 tpd975
3.2/5  rDev -9.1%
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 Bierman9
2.55/5  rDev -27.6%
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 sisuspeed
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
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 abuliarose
4/5  rDev +13.6%
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 rpstevens
3.45/5  rDev -2%
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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White Birch Indulgence Ale from White Birch Brewing
Beer rating: 44.2% out of 100 with 77 ratings
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