White Birch Barrel Aged Rye Four | White Birch Brewing

White Birch Barrel Aged Rye FourWhite Birch Barrel Aged Rye Four
16 Ratings
White Birch Barrel Aged Rye FourWhite Birch Barrel Aged Rye Four

Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with copious amounts of rye malt and fermented with our house yeast. This beer is refreshingly sour with a smooth malty body.

Added by steve8robin on 10-24-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 16 |  Reviews: 12
Photo of brentk56
3.47/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Batch One: 9/22/10

Appearance: Big mark down in points because I couldn't get the cork off this one - not only have this breweries other beers been terrible but I have to battle with a cork; I had to cut off the cork and stuff it into the bottle; once accomplished, the beer pours brown and somewhat fizzy

Smell: Acetic caramel and bread tones

Taste: Acetic with caramel tones underneath; dark fruit (fig and date) builds into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: The best, by far, of the White Birch beers I tasted tonight and the only one that is not a drain pour; just wish it wasn't such a battle to get to the beer

 656 characters

Photo of GonzoHomebrewer
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of johnnnniee
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow that looks pretty in my glass! Deep garnet and brown with a bubbly beige head that slowly recedes. I can smell a mix of tart and barrel as soon a I wrestle the cork off. Lots of vanilla oak and bourbon aromas with some sweet sugary malt and some non descript spicy tartness. Taste lives up to the aroma. Tart lemons and cherries up front a pit of sweet sugar slides in quickly with a bit of barrel treatment before the tartness comes in to tell us who is boss. Medium body and level of carbonation with tart puckering kind of mouthfeel. This one is pretty good. It smells like tart and oak, tastes like puckering. I enjoyed this, I wish this wasn't my last bottle.

 668 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of shufon
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of MasterSki
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by thetomG - Batch 1. Served in a Three Floyds pint glass.

A - Pours with a finger of white foam that settles to a think ring and partial cap, leaving minimal lace. Transparent dark copper-brown body.

S - Rye malt, oak, acetic acid, some alcohol, and a caramel and light chocolate malt character that grows as the beer warms up. There's some tart candy flavor as well that implies cherries, but I don't think fruit was used in this beer.

T - Taste is reminiscent of some of the Avery sours I've had recently. Fairly malt-heavy, with plenty of oak, acetic notes, light spicy rye, faint whiskey, and tart apples. It's not overly sour, but it's definitely more acetic than the other White Birch wild ales I've had. It also, thankfully, doesn't have that mold character. Alcohol is incredibly well-disguised.

M - Medium-full body, some acetic sourness, oaky and dry in the finish. Pleasant medium-low carbonation, and light alcohol warmth.

D - I'm not sure this needed to be 11.3%, but it's by far the best White Birch offering I've had. I'm a big enough person to admit this is pretty good, even after being burned so many times before. I'd actually like to have this one again.

 1,194 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dave for sending this one my way. Shared at Oakquinox.

A: The beer pour s a dark amber color with a rather short lived off-white head.

S: A slight acetic note to the beer right away, but it's not overwhelming and does provide a nice tartness. Still some rye notes with a decent amount of oak and barrel. A little bit of sour fruit, particularly cherries.

T: There's a little bit of a sweet-tart thing going on here. Some light caramel and fruit sweetness. The tartness of cherries, strawberries, and grapes follows. Oak is still prominent and there's a slight mustiness to it.

M: Medium in body with a moderate level of carbonation.

O: Pleasantly surprised by this. Not amazing in anyway, but good all around.

 724 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Dave for sharing this one, and saving some for us to try!
Same details as below, review from notes.

Bottled: September 22, 2010
Batch: One
Bottle: 143 of 240

Murky reddish brown pour into a small snifter. Opaque with sediment in the center, reddish wine stained edges. Spotty lace around the edges with a thin ring of foam at the edges. Wispy cobweb skim across the surface.

Complex barrel aromas of funky wet wood, plum, grapeskins, and tart cherries. Vinous and unique.

Similarly fruity flavor, puckering tart cherry, wine grapes, stone fruits. Some dry tannic bitterness in the aftertaste, traces of oak linger too. Light acetic sharpness around the edges, giving way to a juicy, fruit forward middle and little trace of any rye. The tartness is quenching and the barrel complexity holds interest. Never once thought this would be over 7% abv before seeing the bottle. Reminded me a little of Consecration, though a distant relation. Thanks again Dave for the opportunity to try a White Birch beer...

 1,017 characters

Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Thanks to mrclog for this from our trade! Special thanks to Justin, Wil, Joe, Chris, Chris, Margaret, Matt, Aaron, Alex, and Jay for the assist!

Bottled: September 22, 2010
Batch: One
Bottle: 143 of 240
ABV: Alc. 11.3% by Vol.

A: Pours a dense, rusty brown color with a about 1/2 finger of creamy khaki colored foam on top. Considering the abv, retention was actually pretty good and a bit of lace was left behind in the glass.

S: Pretty big nose full of sweet malt, wood, and berry. Strawberry to be exact. Some minor aromas of citrus rind and alcohol but the strawberry kept me coming back to sniff.

T: Similar to the smell, but much more oak and a fair amount of bruised apricots and peaches. The strawberry lends a tangy zing to the taste as well as some green apple and the aforementioned citrus rind. Didn't pick up really any rye.

M: Tangy and tart with a certain amount of sticky sweetnees for balance. A bit of alcohol astringency as well as a touch of dryness, no doubt brought on by the barrel and the rye.

O: Seriously easy to drink in respects to the abv. This paired very nicely with the chili!

 1,186 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two finger off-white head that fades quickly, leaving some lace. Murky amber/brown color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Tart apple nose. Flavor is tart, a little caramel, high ABV is totally hidden, the label says 11.3% but it doesn't feel like it. Over priced at $16.95 for a 750ml caged and corked bottle from Bert's Better Beers Hooksett, NH. Bottled Sep 22, 2010, batch one, bottle 14 of 240.

 418 characters

Photo of msubulldog25
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From recent notes:
A caged/corked 750ml, sent by sleepydave. Extracted from the chilly depths of the fruit cellar, so I'm guessing 40-45°F initial serving temperature.

Bottled September 22, 2010
Batch One
Bottle 80 of 240

A: Opens with a soft 'pop', then a rusty and bourbon-brown pour with glimmering ruby highlights. Noisy, fizzling roil of carbonation with each pour. Clearer complexion (early; later pours show more haze) with a healthy showing of crawling mini-bubbles trailing up the sides of the glass. A scant covering of khaki cream breaks apart and clings in a ring with an amorphous blotch of film holding at the center. Rambling and drooling ribbons of lace.

S: Strangely scented malt-sweetness: a light cherry tartness with less than subtle whiffs of nostril-clearing acetone. If there's a 'base' fruit, it's apricot, but then a lime-y citrus 'funkiness'. Something like Sprite, a clean mineral scent. Moments of sweet and singed wood. Not a great aroma, but curious.

T: Tart upfront, tart through and through. Lots of tangy apricot and unripe peach, green apple and white grape. If I didn't read 'Rye' on the label, I'd have had no idea; despite a certain dry spiciness there's really nothing that screams 'rye' here. Fleeting sweetness here and there, but always very acidic. It's not for everyone, but this'll rank among the better sours I've tried flavor-wise.

M: Surprisingly light and rather astringent; very mellow, if distant, carbonation. Has a reasonable warmth for an 11%+ beer. Drippy juiciness, my taste buds kick into overdrive. REFRESHING! Never thought I'd say that about such a big beer!

D: For my first taste (of several in-waiting) from White Birch, I'm impressed. Definitely memorable, unexpected. Tangy, juicy and rather crave-worthy - something I want more of and am grateful for the chance to try. Thanks, Dave...

 1,857 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Darker molasses brown color and no carbonation.

Nose has lots of oak and woody aromas, light bourbon aromas, as well as some light spicy rye and tart fruits. A bit of acetylalehide.

Taste brings a lot more oak and wood, light bourbon flavors, and very light rye. The oak and bourbon seem to dial down the rye from the regular Rye Four Sour. Lots of fresh oak and some light spices, as well as a hint of sour Belgian yeast fruits.

Mouth is medium to a little heavier bodied, with almost no carbonation.

Drink is decent, a bit of booze but not much, lack of carbonation hurts a bit, but otherwise nice.

 802 characters

Photo of sisuspeed
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dave for the bottle!

Poured into a wine glass. A thin ring of white film leaves light patches of lacing over a clear, ruby-red, body with a faint orange tint. This is the most clarity I've seen in a White Birch beer yet.

Rye, pear, apricot, barrel and alcohol on the nose. Comes across like Playdough at first, but more swirling seems to eventually remove that smell. Kind of odd, but not bad.

Apples, pear and rye come out in the flavor. A slight touch of lactic sourness with some dry, fruity, rye spiciness. Somewhat acidic and fruit juice like. Interesting.

Mouthfeel is on the thinner side. Juicy, slightly sour and tart. A hint of warming alcohol comes through, but it is mostly unnoticeable. Light carbonation.

An interesting beer. I enjoyed trying this, but it is definitely best to split it amongst a few people. Not really sure what Bill's goal was here, but if you can find a bottle it's worth giving it a shot. Very juice like.

 954 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a corked and caged 750 mL bottle into my Smuttynose tulip glass. Batch one, bottle 36 of 240. Bottled on September 22, 2010. Served at room temperature.

Appearance: Dark brown in color with some strong crimson highlights. Not much head at all. A thin, sticky lacing around the edge of the glass.

Aroma: Caramel, vanilla, and some brett notes in the aroma. A touch of sour cherries in there too. Some pretty assertive booze notes too, especially as it warms slightly.

Taste: Really sour and tart cherries. Definitely one of most sour beers I've experienced and its really hidden in the aroma. The brett here really can hit hard. Nice barnyard notes throughout. Definitely some malty rye notes in the background. Doughy with some nice caramel notes. The alcohol is more well hidden here than in the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and realtively crisp. Very acidic. Smooth, with a crisp finish.

Drinkability: The sour would seem to be overpowering at first taste, but it actually works well for having more than a little. The ABV is a little strong in the aroma, but this is otherwise drinkable.

Overall, a nice sour that definitely exceeded my expectations. The ABV is a bit rough around the edges but that is to be expected at this ABV. Definitely worth seeking out and not too ridiculously priced considering it's a barrel aged sour.

 1,366 characters

Photo of steve8robin
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this at a beer store in NH when released. Batch One. Bottled September 22, 2010, Bottle 134 of 240. 22oz bottle...

A: murky dark deep brown color with a huge tan head that fades slowly. Very good.

S: I can smell this from the table. I get a blend of bready rye, booziness, and tart funk. I almost get some brown sugar and pumpkin in the middle with some sugary cherries on the backend. Good.

T: first reaction is sour, but not over the top sour blended with some bready rye and a nutty character. Watery in the middle with some sugary cherries and caramel booze character in the middle. Good.

M: medium body with a hint of over-carbonation. Decent.

D: this is one definitely surprisingly drinkable. Very good.

All in all, this brew surprised me. I am not a fan of sours, but the other flavors blended in makes this one actually quite enjoyable. This seems like it would please the sour fan and maybe some non-fans all at once.

 948 characters

White Birch Barrel Aged Rye Four from White Birch Brewing
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 16 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.