White Birch Apprentice Series Natasha | White Birch Brewing

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White Birch Apprentice Series NatashaWhite Birch Apprentice Series Natasha
41 Ratings
White Birch Apprentice Series NatashaWhite Birch Apprentice Series Natasha

Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Mike Boulerice is our second apprentice brewer. For his professional debut, he’s brewed a Russian Imperial Stout aged on oak chips. Rich, full bodied and nuanced.

We say “До свидания” to Mike as he moves on and hope you enjoy his beer as much as we do.

Added by barleywinebrewer on 10-28-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 41 |  Reviews: 35
Photo of injuredreserve
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Edit for second bottle: gusher, over carbonated, very smokey/charred but still drinkable

A: dark chocolate colored head that fades very slowly.

S: Chocolate malt with boozy undertones...

T: chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla. dark fruits with nice bitter chocolate linger.

M: Full, full bodied with a huge carbonation feel. Great finish.

D: Nice balance. Would love another.

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Photo of Sean9689
2.67/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to Chris for this. 22oz bomber poured into tulip.

A - Slight gusher. Infected? Pours black, huge tan/mocha head, some nice lacing and retention with a large two finger cap on top.

S - Dark choclate, dark fruits, some oak. There's a slight alcohol booze to it, but no where near the almost 12% this one is.

T - Lots of bitter chocolate, an overpowering oak woody note, and some sour/tart notes that make me think this one is slightly infected. Very bitter finish that don't much care for.

M - Medium body, too much carbonation, semi-dry finish.

D - Not in the highlight reel for the night, but no where near the worst beer of the night. I'm not totally sure, but the huge amount of carbonation and slighty sour notes lead me to believe this one could have been infected.

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Photo of MasterSki
2.78/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to spycow for sharing this one. Served in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Bottled September 1st, 2010, #290/528.

A - We have a gusher. Pours with a giant dark mocha foam that settles to a thick cap, leaving some fingers of lace. Pitch black body. Looks quite nice.

S - Big chocolate cake aroma, some oak, dark roasted malts and heavy rye bread. Some light alcohol peeks through and gets more noticeable as the beer warms up.

T - Yikes! What happened?! Taste is harsh oak, astringent bitterness, some lactic sourness, char, and papery oxidation. Finishes harsh and bitter.

M - Medium-full body, pleasant moderate carbonation, and a perhaps overly dry and tannic oak finish that lingers indefinitely.

D - It's a lot like Dark Intrigue, but unfortunately is suffering from some sort of infection. I poured out most of this after doing due diligence on my mouthfeel and taste notes.

This is a huge disappointment, as it was shaping up to be a very good beer. I hope this was an isolated off bottle and not signs of a batch-wide infection.

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Photo of jrallen34
2.64/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle provided by Chris, poured into a perfect pint glass...A huge whoosh upon popping the cap. A light black with a huge dark tan head, great retention and lacing...The aroma is sweet chocolate, oak, lactic acid, not a good balance, seems infected to me. Reminds me of a more infected Dark Intrigue....The taste is mostly oak, and bitter bakers chocolate. Sour note comes in again.

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Photo of Satchboogie
4.01/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber (bottle 303 of 528) poured into a snifter:

A: Pours pitch black, completely opaque. HUGE 2+ finger, dark brown foamy head. Dissipates in a couple minutes to a thin mocha froth. Couldn't be any better, this is a picture perfect looking stout.

S: Lots of dark roasted malt, burnt coffee, a little dark chocolate, alcohol soaked candied fruit, maybe a little oak/wood. Smells like there's oats in there.

T: Delicious. There are a lot of dark, burnt flavors that blend together, nothing overpowers anything else. A little dark chocolate, burnt coffee, molasses, and alcohol soaked fruit. The oak gives it a nice earthy/woody flavor and smoothness. Fairly robust flavor, yet delicate in a way. The alcohol does tingle a little in the nose during some big sips and warms nicely in the finish, but overall it's pretty well hidden for 11.6%. Finishes dry, warm, bittersweet with dark fruit notes.

M: Medium to full body, medium carbonation that feels "soft". There is always a nice layer of froth on top of the beer from the carbonation. Has a medium to full mouthfeel, very smooth, and dry.

D: Drinks more like 9%ABV than the actual 11.6%. That said, it still starts to hit hard upon pouring out the 2nd half of the bomber, not that it was going to slow me down!

Overall this is a very good Oak Aged Imperial Stout. My only regret is not getting more than one bottle!

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dave for the bottle!

Pours a dark dark brown with a big foamy chocolate head that eventually fades to a thin film. Leaves some nice lacing behind.

Peat, oak and chocolate on the nose. A touch of alcohol and vanilla as well. Has some smokey meatiness to it, most likely from the whisky chips. Hint of burnt dark malt. Woody. Somewhat muddled.

Wood staves and whisky with dark chocolate and roasty malt on the tongue. There's a decent amount of bitterness here. The vanilla is faint. I'd like to see that come through a little more. The whisky seems to be a little one-dimensional, but still pretty good.

The body is decent, but a bit thin and over carbonated. Fixing this part of the beer would really boost the overall enjoyment. Some warming alcohol.

Overall, this is a pretty good beer, but somewhat flawed. For an apprentice brewer this is definitely a good first attempt, but compared to other beers in this style, Natasha falls a bit short. Different oak/whisky chips might help as well. Still a decent beer though.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.18/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Glen Beverage, Glen, NH. Bottled 9/1/10, Batch 1, Bottle 337 of 528. Maroon waxed cap.

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed a 2" dark brown head over the opaque tar black brew. Super rocky head lasts and lasts and lasts, with thick chunky lacing. Aroma is hearty chocolate malts.

Taste is the same chocolate to start, fruity tinge in the middle, with a sweet yet still somewhat tart close. Alcohol really comes on after the swallow, and lingers. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, the tartness counteracting a bit of the velvet, and drinkability is good, esp for the abv. Interesting and enjoyable brew.

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Photo of jlindros
4.33/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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 one. After being disappointed by Espresso Imp Stout, and Indulgence, this really came through!

Big dark black head fades slowly over pitch black beer with thick legs.

Nose loaded with roasted barley, coffee, chocolate, nougat, fluffy, caramel, toffee, nutty, very nice.

Taste brings lots of chewy oatmeal, plenty more roasted malts and coffee, toffee, dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, cocoa nibs, earthy hops, rich and smooth and fluffy nougat. A bit of booze, but not a lot. Finish has a long malty finish, some chocolate and coffee late, and more earthy bitterness.

Mouth is pretty thick, luscious and rich, and fluffy, with decent carbonation, and bit a warming booze.

Drink is OK, with some warming booze but drinks better than 11.6%, some sweetness and a little sticky and mouth coating.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.43/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz into wide tulip.

A- Impressive pour. Huge head, brown sugar in color, beer is motor oil black. Head sits like a layer of cake on top of the beer.

S- Dark fruit, a bit of tobacco/leather/smoke earthiness. Chocolate as well. Powerful aromatics.

T- Big bold roastiness, baking chocolate, and the oakiness comes through pretty strong. Pretty good hop bite, but it mingles with expresso and bitter chocolate flavors. Nothing out of place, lots of flavors to explore.

M- Thick decadent body, moderate carbonation, perhaps a bit much for the style, nitpicking though. Great finish.

D- This drinks fast, despite the abv.. great flavors. I'm impressed. The best WB beer I've had to date. Worth seeking out.

note- absolutely none of the 'house yeast' taste found in other WB beers.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.61/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had this beer at a recent tasting

this beer pours jet black with a nice brown head.

the smell is is rich and malty, with hints of chocolate

taste is wow, delicious roast malt with the perfect balance between malt sweetness and roasty bitterness. with a very low alcohol presence for the abv.

very rich sweet mouthfeel

could easy have drank the whole bottle, a very drinkable beer

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Photo of puboflyons
4.41/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 22 fl. oz. waxed cap bottle dated September 1, 2010. Sampled on December 5, 2010. Batch One no. 225 of 528. The pour is practically black with about two inches of fluffy, silky light brown head. The aroma is full of chocolate and dark malts but I do not immediately notice the oak barrel scent. The body is bold and incredibly smooth. The taste is full of chocolate and cocoa sensations with a balanced hoppiness at the end. It is 11.6% ABV but you would never know it because the alcohol is so well masked. This one is an award winner.

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Photo of VTBeerLover
4.58/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Nate for this one. 22oz poured into a Gulden Draak tulip.

Bottled: September 1, 2010
Batch: One
Bottle: 111 of 528
ABV: 11.6%

A: Thick black pour with a dense bronze head that lasts for 2-5 minutes

S: A lot of great roast and a little bit of chocolate.

T: Deep roastiness with a respectable burn for 11.6% and some sweet chocolate notes. Delicious and very complex.

M: A little roast burn takes away from the strong carbonation.

D: As delicious as this beer is, I could only have one on occasion due to its high alcohol content and overpowering flavor.

Overall a fantastic Imperial Stout and well worth the money. I wish more White Birch beers were in this price range.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.53/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a blue wax sealed 22oz bomber into two White Birch flutes. Thanks to HollyAnn for the assist. Extra special thanks to mrclog for this from our trade!

Bottled: September 1, 2010
Batch: One
Bottle: 162 of 528
ABV: 11.6%

A: Friggin' gorgeous pour! Thick, oily black with about four fingers of dense and creamy mocha colored foam. Retention was superb and a nice display of lace was left behind. Shows some legs when swirled. Beautiful.

S: Heavily roasted malt, dark fruit, new oak, espresso, fudge brownies, smoke, and alcohol. smells a bit like flourless chocolate cake baked with bitter bakers chocolate.

T: Wow! Major bitter dark chocolate blended with burnt/smokey malt, dark fruit, fudge, charcoal, and espresso.

M: Starts off with the impression that it's going to pummel my palate with RIS-styled sweetness, but quickly backs down a notch and becomes dry during the middle and finishes with a nice peppery sizzle.

D: We were really suprised by how easy this was to drink, considereing its' heft. I really liked how this wasn't overly sweet and/or syrupy. It was sweet, dry, and spicy...all in the perfect amounts.

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Photo of Lazerlobe
4.18/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Talking to Mike the brewer, he recommended trying this now when it is more hop forward and revisiting the beer in 6+ months when the hops begin to calm and the malt presence is more tempered. Here is the fresh bottle:

A: Glugs out of the bottle in hearty pulses. Dark black in color, the head approaches tiramisu color and is airy and persistent.

S: Roast, burnt toast, mellow hops, baked brownies.

T: Huge roastiness, a strong dose of bittering hops and hints of chocolate cake take center stage. There aren't too many other players that I can tease out from the roasted malts but a biscotti aftertaste and resiny hops lie on the finish.

M: As thick and viscous as this makes itself out to be, the carbonation hinders the effect. A touch of booze burns a bit but should mellow with time. Oaky dryness more noticeable as it warms.

D: This is still a young stout. I've got another bottle and will give it a go in another six months or so. I'd like to see the heat and carbonation toned down a bit.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.76/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So suprised to see this one at Julios. Grabbed a bottle to try. Bottled September 1, 2010, Batch One, Bottle 128 of 528. 22oz...

A: Amazing motor oil black with a humongous 3 inch duper dark chocolate colored head that fades very slowly. Perfect!

S: Some bitter chocolate upfront with some roasty raisin booziness. Some breadiness hidden on the back. Good.

T: A huge roastiness upfront with a sweet creamy chocolate blended quickly after. Viciously thick! Some caramel in the middle with a dark fruit on the backend. Surprisingly, this is pretty damn good. Good.

M: Full, full bodied with a huge carbonation feel. Super dry finish. Ok.

D: With the super carbonation a thickness on this one, not as good here. Ok.

All in all, this is one of the best I've had from WB. This and the BA Rye Four have been the best from them so far. Try if you like super thick stouts.

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Photo of TairyGreene
4.58/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bill himself, and a great tasting of some of his rarer beers.

The appearance is outstanding, massive burnt-ochre head that sticks and sticks. No transparency in the beer at all, a definite requirement for me with imperial stouts.

The roasted and toasted notes in the nose are outstanding. Definitely a "serpent stout style", roasted quality-forward style imp stout. Gobs of carbon-saturated roasted malts.

The flavor however reveals some dark fruit qualities, almost that fake-concord grape flavor I get out of some Belgian Quads. Lots of plum, chocolate and charcoal as well.

Mouthfeel is solid, but not quite at oatmealy-smooth-silky as I'd like, but still, an outstanding beer nonetheless.

This is an exquisite Imperial Stout, and I couldn't be happier. Quite the deceptive concoction, little to no burn from the alcohol.

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White Birch Apprentice Series Natasha from White Birch Brewing
Beer rating: 3.58 out of 5 with 41 ratings