White Birch Tavern Ale | White Birch Brewing

BA SCORE
85
very good
84 Ratings
THE BROS
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White Birch Tavern AleWhite Birch Tavern Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
White Birch Brewing
New Hampshire, United States
whitebirchbrewing.com

Style: Smoked Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Butter’s Tavern was a fixture of Concord, NH in the eighteenth century. Inspired by their loggerhead ale, we’ve created a Smoked Imperial Brown Ale. Hearty malts, with a nuanced smokiness and smooth finish create our interpretation of this historic ale. We hope you enjoy this slice of New Hampshire history.

Added by womencantsail on 02-11-2011

BEER STATS
Ratings:
84
Reviews:
38
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
15.34%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
6
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 84 |  Reviews: 38
Photo of erlenmeyer
1/5  rDev -73.5%

Photo of teleman
2/5  rDev -47.1%

Photo of Arbitrator
2.08/5  rDev -45%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of ShogoKawada. Thanks, Phil!

A: Dark brown, very small and short-lived head.

S: Immediately out of the cold bottle, this had a nice, smoky roasted grain aroma. A few minutes later, as it warmed up, it brought burnt plastic and cigarettes to the party. You could kind of overlook them, so I can't say it's the worst aroma ever. I get the feeling this would be an ok beer without (I'm guessing) QC issues.

T: Plastic, smoke, and cigarette ash. A little bit of chocolate, earth, and roasted grain are found too; it's almost stout-like, but with enough nuttiness to suggest a brown ale variant. This could be a pretty interesting beer, actually...

M: Medium-bodied, but low carbonation.

O: White Birch has shifted from "trainwreck" to just shy of mediocre. It is actually a positive trend, but I don't understand why they release most of what they have made...

 904 characters

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
2.75/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of rudzud
2.86/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked up when this first came out at Julio's Liquors batch 1 bottled in February 2011.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a deep dark muddy brown with a creamy two finger head that fades slowly to leave nice side lacing and good residual head.

S - This has a slightly smokey aroma but somehow drowns out all other scents. There's a light hop note on the back but mostly smoke.

T - Similar to the nose in that there is a smoky note that masks most if what makes a good brown ale. Lacking sweet malts with just a hint of hops. Rather average.

M - Easily the worst part of this beer. Super thin with not much carbonation. Watery and the higher abv really shines through due to that.

O - Overall I find this beer to be quite mediocre. There are so many better brown ales that aren't overpowered by smoke or as thin as a glass of water. Worst White Birch I've had to date by far.

 876 characters

Photo of bishopdc0
2.94/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

shared a bomber with my wife.
Listed as a Smoked Imperial Brown Ale. Bottled February 2011, batch 2
Bottle count: 1008

Poured dark brown into my goblet. A slight head form and quickly fades the the glasses edge leaving a wisp of bubbles in the center and a tan rim on the edge. The bottle indicates 8% abv which isn't enough to shrink the head so quickly. the bottle, like all White Birch is very very informative which helps the overall look

The aroma on the beer hit you first as you pour it into your glass. At first the aroma is like a bandage almost sterile, the smoke mixed with the alcohol perhaps, after giving a few more deep inhalations I am able to am amber to distinguish the smokey malts. I can also pick up toasted and sweet malts but it takes some work, perhaps a lower abv would make a better aroma.

The taste is much better then the smell. the alcohol is up front, with a mix of sweet malts and carbonation. The sweet malts make a mix of crystal and toasted makes it a brown but the abv is the only hint that it is Imperial. As you swallow this beer this is when the taste of smoke comes in. The sweetness dissipates and the carbonation fades. As your mouth dries a smoky flavor lingers in the mouth.

Overall I feel this it is a good smoke beer but the ABV I think doesn't mesh well with the smoke taste. The mix of smoke and alcohol don't work for me but this is a well crafted beer if you like smoke beer you should try it as it may work for you

 1,470 characters

Photo of harsley
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of AgentZero
3.06/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle share by ChrisPro who called this the "second best White Birch beer he's ever had." That could mean anything.

A - Dark brown beer with a khaki head that left some spots and other stuff on the side of the glass.

S - This smells almost exactly like a Tootsie Roll. It has a little smoke in there as well, so I guess it's a smoked Tootsie Roll.

T - Tastes like a Tootsie Roll, with a little more smoke and roast than the nose had. The taste is really heavy and gets fatiguing fast, but unlike a lot of White Birch beers I didn't have to spit it out or supress my gag reflex.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The big taste makes it seem heavier than it really is.

O - Well it wasn't a complete disaster like I'm used to from White Birch. I didn't really like it as there was just too much Tootsie Roll flavor but it wasn't horrible. Wouldn't likely drink again.

 882 characters

Photo of davey101
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber into a pint glass, January 2012, Batch One, Bottle Count 1152.

A - Dark brown/black body that lets no light through. Silky one ginger high light mocha head. Great lacing and retention.

S - Subtle smoked malts, dark fruits, chocolate, cigarette ash.

T - Smokey malts and a layer of chocolate and nutty flavors. Finishes ashy with an acrid red wine like flavor. Mouth feel is smooth and medium bodied.

O - Sub-par beer. This beer is more ashy than smokey with an oddly harsh aftertaste.Its drinkable, but not very tasty.

 536 characters

Photo of rderedin
3.17/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.75

Photo of 2ellas
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from growler
nice deep brown color
smell and taste has a nice roast to it
Overall a good brown. A style I feel should be more appreciated

144 characters

Photo of Yoonisaykul
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of PriorDoubleDark
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a mini pint glass, color is dark brown with light tan head that presents bout 1/2 inch thick then laces nicely.

Smell is lightly sweet, some rosted malt and hints of chocolate with a nice light smokiness.

Taste is a sweet malt that smoothes to a roasted flavor followed by a mild smokiness, more beachwood type smoke.

Mouthfeel is a little strong on the tongue, sitting on the tongue strongly, a touch cloying.

Overall, an ok smoked ale, flavors are not too out of sync, but a little sweet and not quite enough smokiness is the right places (nose).

 564 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by ChrisPro - thanks man! This is from Batch 2, but there is no bottle number. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

A - A tan foam settles to a thick collar, leaving spotty lace and wisps on top. Dark brown body.

S - Tootsie roll, caramel, molasses, and chocolate malt mingle with smoke and meat.

T - Taste is smokier, with some char and dark chocolate bitterness. There's some mild astringency and plastic in the finish as well. Otherwise it smells much like it tastes.

M - Moderate carbonation, medium-thin body, and well-hidden alcohol like all White Birch beers. Solid, but unexceptional.

D - A passable smoked beer. It's in the top tier of White Birch beers I've had, which renders it tolerable.

 711 characters

Photo of Ego
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 5
Bottle Count 1092

eyes...
barely any head whatsoever, whatever head there was disappears faster than the plot in the twilight movies, very dark brown, almost opaque save for the bubbles (very few) traveling up the draft. nothing much to look at here...

nose...
dark molasses and fruit (prunes), bitter chocolate, the smoke is rather subdued, if it was more forward this would be much better imo. the more it sits the more the smoke does come out though.

taste etc...
is this more of an ash taste or smoke? mixed in are some bitter chocolate notes that really linger. the carbonation is as expected by the pour - very underwhelming. The body is medium and is neither here nor there. after sipping some more of this the smoke is really more of an ash flavor and detracts from the brew.

verdict?
this beer is OK, it has slightly above average taste points but overall is pretty average. looking at the reviews (especially on the head) it seems this may not be consistent batch to batch.

 995 characters

Photo of ChrisPro
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of tigerbeer90
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of mmarv74
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Jeffo
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Doopie's mate Steve brought this over from MA. Thanks a bunch for sharing man!

Described as a Smoked Imperial Brown Ale
Bottled Feb 2011
Batch #1
Bottle count 1032

From a bomber into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger, medium looking, tan head with good retention. Head fades to a decent wisp. Dark brown, bistre perhaps, and minimal carbonation evident. Ring and slight wisp remain leaving dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Milder nose on this one. Roasted malts, mild dark chocolate notes, and some dark fruits, raisins perhaps. A touch of smokiness, but not much at all. More roasted malts and dark fruits in the nose. Milder but quite nice.

TASTE: Roasted malts, dark baker’s chocolate, and a good dose of smoky malt. Some more roasted and smoky malts and a good dose of bitterness after the swallow. Some spiciness in there as well in the milder yet lingering aftertaste. Medium strength but quite interesting. Very enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation, and a little lighter on the palate. Creamy enough, goes down fine with a bit of a surprising burn after the swallow, and finishes somewhat dry. Could be a little heavier and smoother as well.

OVERALL: Quite a tasty and enjoyable brew. The other four categories were nothing to write home about, as the nose could have been bolder for an “imperial” and the palate a little heavier and creamier, but the flavor was wonderful. We all really enjoyed this one. Thanks again Doopie!

 1,476 characters

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of sethmeister
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Batch 3, bottled March 2011.

Pours very dark brown with a fizzy khaki colored head. Held to the light a glimmer of red at the edges. Minimal lacing, head drops to a ring.

Scent is first caramel and molasses and then woodsmoke and charred, peat like notes underneath

Taste is sweet with dense dark chocolate and molasses. Sweet like bacon drizzled with maple syrup. Dark fruit, plums? The smoke is very subtle and not at all overpowering. (I actually would welcome stronger smoke flavors. See what Islay scotch does to you?) Builds gently in the background. A hint of black licorice.

Mouth is a bit disappointing. Starts a little too fizzy and ends a little too watery. Would like to see this with a creamier fuller body. Mild alcohol warming in the throat.

I love smoked beers so I was intrigued and had to try this. A solid brew.

 835 characters

Photo of vtblackdog
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I am becoming a fan of this brewery so let us see how this one goes. Bottled in Feb 2011, batch one.

Appearance is a dark brown with just a little light around the edges of the pint. An ok head forms but disappears quickly.

Smell is a weak slightly cheesy (the cheese you eat) with a little alcohol aroma in the back. I do not get any smokiness.

Taste is much better than smell. I get the smoke up front, which is why I picked this style up and a nice malt finish.

Mouthfeel is average for me. Nothing really noteworthy.

Overall this is a very drinkable beer. I was expecting more from the smoked part.

This one seems a bit expensive ($9) for what I got out of it.

 670 characters

Photo of ToasterChef
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Like the other reviews, this is an unnumbered bottle from batch 2, a total of which 1008 bottled were produced. The cellar temperature beer was poured into a pint glass.

A dark brown liquid with a brownish bubbly head fills my glass. The beer is dark and no light penetrates. Some lace is left behind.

There is certainly a smokey bacon scent emanating from this beer. I also get some sweet malts and a touch of alcohol. It is interesting and makes me excited to take a sip.

The flavor is certainly that of a smoke beer; don't let the label's claim of "Imperial Brown Ale" fool you. Charcoal smokiness is prevalent, and some alcohol and bitterness come about in the finish. Possibly English hops are used here, as it certainly isn't a big American hop presence and reminds me of ales form across the pond. Malts are not too sweet and work well as a base for the smoke.

The body is on the fuller side and carbonation is average. There is a good sized coat but it is just of average quality; there isn't anything wrong with it, but it doesn't impress me.

I have yet to come across a smoke beer that I would drink regularly, and this one is no exception. It is an interesting experiment and worth picking up if you want to drink something different, but not as exciting as some of the other beers White Birch makes.

 1,316 characters

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White Birch Tavern Ale from White Birch Brewing
3.78 out of 5 based on 84 ratings.
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