White Birch Barrel Aged Elysium Ale | White Birch Brewing

15 Ratings
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Elysium is simply a place or condition of ideal happiness. Our idea of happiness is a barrel aged stout to share with family and good friends. Each barrel we use is carefully selected, a little wild, filled with stout, and aged till it’s ready. There is no hurrying a barrel. For this we think the effort is well worth the wait.

Added by NittanyBeerFan on 12-05-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 15 |  Reviews: 9
Reviews by danedelman:
Photo of danedelman
3.84/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 47 of 150

A-dark black with huge 4 finger tan/brown head.

S-tart cherries and chocolate malt. Roasted malt comes in a bit.

T-tart chocolate. Roasty aftertaste. I only get a hint of cherries I smelled. Maybe a bit too roasted flavor coming through.

M-medium bodied with high carbonation.

O-the best I have had yet from White Birch. I have another bottle of this. I would say good but not great. Some similiar beers to this are Weyerbacher's Sour Black and Captain Lawerence mother batch.

 499 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
2.77/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch 1 from July 2010. Poured into a snifter.

The beer comes to me with a thin layer of creamy white head, and it begins to dissipate rapidly. The texture looks a bit thin, as the wild barrels had some bugs that metabolized the rest of the residual sugars in the beer. There is no lacing that can be seen on the glass as I drink.

The aroma is a combination of an imperial stout and a young sour. Chocolate and dark fruits, especially plums and dates, are coupled with an acetic sourness that I am sure will begin to gain in potency over time. On the palate, it is much the same, as the sourness comes through to balance out the dry finish. The dark fruits fade a bit, but they are still evident with the chocolate from the aroma. The roastiness, already light to non-existent to begin with, is beginning to be snuffed out by the acetic sourness from the barrels. Not a shining example of barrel aging, nor of a sour stout.

The feel, as I had speculated, was a little thin, but given other sour stouts that I have tried, it was pretty much on point. Easy to drink, with no hints of warm alcohol, it can sneak up on you. I certainly hope that this beer will improve with time, but it has a long way to come.

 1,209 characters

Photo of kevgod
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of BierBliss
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of Rifugium
3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Listed at being "from Vermont." ;)

Served in a 9oz. snifter, a dark seemingly total black pour, with a rocky, frothy beige head that retained well and left blotches of lacing on the glass. Aroma was fairly roasty, light hops and a touch of yeasty, but I got a LOT of oak from this, so much so that it almost overpowered everything else. Taste was similar. I mean...whew...this was one of the woodiest beers I've ever tasted. It said this was aged on oak, so I'm assuming that's the wood that was used, and it was clearly large and in charge in the taste, more traditional stout-like flavors coming through mid-palate, dark roasty malts, with very subtle notes of fruit esters and yeast. Nothing I would really call tart or puckering, as promised, but there was a bit of funk involved. About medium-bodied, but full of flavor. Whether or not you like the flavor is a matter of opinion, but I did happen to like this quite a bit. One glass was enough, but I was glad to have had it.

 1,028 characters

Photo of mklisz
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rydev24
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of johnnnniee
4.17/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid dark black with a minimal tan head with poor retention. Smells of roasted grains, chocolate, coffee, caramel, tart dark fruits and a just a hint of funk. Taste follows the smell, roasted grains, caramel, dark fruits like you'd expect in an big stout with just a hint of tartness and funk that lets you know this one is a bit different. Medium to thick body, light level of carbonation with a creamy and tart mouthfeel. This is an odd beer released by White Birch. Originally an Imperial stout aged in Utopias barrels then soured with wild bugs and occasionally released on tap or sampled out of a bottle at the brewery. This beer has huge variations in flavor as the original 5 barrels were allowed to sour at their own pace and each ended up unique. I really enjoyed this beer, thanks to Bill for allowing me the chance to try this a couple of times.

 865 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
2.22/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

On tap at TJ's yesterday.

Black, with a dense, dark brown head, retention is good, and there's nice lacing. Nose has licorice, ash and soap, moderately rancid. The soap character is moderately distracting. Thankfully, this tastes a little better than it smells. A little sweet without much roasted malt character, there's some licorice present. It does feel rather awful on the palate, fatty, flabby and moderately soapy with low barrel character, very light body, rather awful. Licorice bitter drying finish, moderate bitter, some soap. awful.

 545 characters

Photo of brez8791
1/5  rDev -71.9%

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.42/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at a recent tasting at gordons fine wine and spirits in waltam ma

this beer pours a pitch black with almost no head whatsoever and low carbonation

the smell is intoxicating, rich sweet malth with some slightly sour notes and hints of cherry.

the taste is very close to the smell with the malth being a liitle less apparent. the malt is ther but the funk and tartness are a liitle stronger than the malt flavor and the bitterness is very low. there is also a nice sour cherry flavor in there

the mouthfeel is medium with low carbonation and the beer is very drinkable as this was the largest pour and i went back fro seconds

 641 characters

Photo of BeerzMcKenzie
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Knapp85
3.74/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a nice black color with a very thin almost nonexistent head on top. There is not retention or lacing on this beer at all. The smell of the beer is really nice, there is a very nice roasted malt aroma to it and the sour elements are hidden incredibly well on the nose. The taste however, gives off a big tart pop upfront that settles into a nice roasted malt finish with chocolate notes in there also. The mouthfeel was a little on the thin side. The carbonation was average, but I felt this beer was just too watery for the style. Overall I thought it was incredible how the smell and taste were completely different which made this really unique. It was a nice beer to try since it's retired. Otherwise I wouldn't need to have this one again.

 762 characters

Photo of FrankLloydMike
3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on-tap at Firefly a few months back and jotted down some notes, which I just re-found.

A: Steel black with a sticky, thick, brown head. Attractive, but much darker than the straw-colored and amber White Birch ales I've seen up to this point.

S: Dark fruit and licorice with more malt notes than I've picked in previous White Birch offerings. There's also a quick, punching sourness that I expect in White Birch beers, but again different than others. The smell is unusual, but inviting.

T: Taste follows the nose, with the licorice smell giving way to dark, bitter chocolate rounded out by the pleasant, underlying funk. This is a stout to be sure, but quite different than any others I've had, though I admittedly new to Imperial Stouts.

M: Thinner than I expected, it reminded me more of a porter in its lighter body. I actually don't mind this, as the full, chewy body endemic to stouts is not something I'm often seeking. The sourness mitigates the stout dryness.

D: The thin body and reduced dryness make this an easy beer to drink, but the alcohol asserts itself more strongly than most White Birch beers. This was not my favorite White Birch offering, but I still enjoyed it and would order another. Still, I'd probably pass on a second in one sitting.

 1,275 characters

Photo of DIM
3.72/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aged in a Utopia's barrel? Sweet! This was the most intriguing beer from the tasting the other night. It wasn't my favorite but I'm glad I had another bottle to spend some quality time with.

a: Black body and a thick, fizzy tan head.

s: This has the most interesting tobacco note I've found in a beer yet. Its the appealing mustiness of well used pipe with accents of cocoa and cherry playing beautifully off of it. This is absolutely unique and beyond my ability to describe

t: This has as many layers as the smell, but it doesn't come together quite as well. The tobacco is here, just as interesting and as appealing, but the tart, slightly funky cherry is more prominent. There is some bitter cocoa at the end.

m: A bit on the thin side with fizzy carbonation.

d: While I absolutely loved the tobacco I found, I don't think this was quite what they had in mind. There was plenty to like here, but oh what might have been.

 929 characters

White Birch Barrel Aged Elysium Ale from White Birch Brewing
3.56 out of 5 based on 15 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.