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Smoked & Oaked Belgian-Style Ale | Epic Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
87
very good
83 Reviews
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Smoked & Oaked Belgian-Style AleSmoked & Oaked Belgian-Style Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Epic Brewing Company
Utah, United States
epicbrewing.com

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Smoked cherry wood malt brings a smoky sweetness to the caramel malts and a bit of peat flavor with a Belgian-style yeast. The entire batch aging in the whiskey barrels nicely dries out the perceived sweetness of the caramel malt leaving an almost scotch like taste.

ABV varies by batch.

Added by Wasatch on 07-11-2010

BEER STATS
Reviews:
83
Ratings:
291
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
24.09%
 
 
Wants:
18
Gots:
68
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 83 | Ratings: 291
Photo of Jmamay22
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Beer pours a hazy caramel brown with a thin khaki head. It smells of candied sugar, caramel and peaty smoke with a very slight yeasty and fruity background. A very unique scent.

The beer mixes the flavor of scotch and the qualities of a Belgian ale well. The beer begins with a flavor of caramel and candied apple. The smoke comes into play midway through and plays well with the candied sugar flavor. Even if only imagined there is a peat like finish leaving me to believe there was use of scotch barrels. Unfortunately the mouthfeel is a little thin and I would have preferred emphasis on the Belgian style with a greater level of carbonation. Would be niceif it was bottle conditioned with cor and cage, but that would likely increase the price and may not currently be possible at this brewery.

A unique and enjoyable brew. Along with the sage saison, I am beginning to enjoy this breweries unique style.

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Photo of Ego
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

eyes...
on a reasonable pour this fizzes out pretty quickly, it has the appearance of almost out of carbonation soda pop (yes, because I felt like typing 'pop'), kind of medium mud stomp brown, like a deep dirty puddle, bubbles sort of exist bumping into each other like drunks at 3am, ok looking

nose...
tart and sharp notes (apple?), of course there is some smoke, it is more of a hint of bonfire than a full out onslaught of meaty ember goodness, you can sense the alcohol slyly hiding in the background adding in some whiskey notes, smells nice

taste etc...
definite whiskey notes, kind of medium bodied, the carbonation is very subtle... and it works here, I think any higher level of carbonation would really distract from this, the more I drink this the more I think of whiskey, of course it is not as dense as whiskey but the smoke and ABV are doing a good job of mimicry here, nice warm buzz in the ole gullet, the smoke just smooths out the flavor and is pretty subdued (and generally I love the super smoke action like in bamburg classics), I can't say this is some utterly complex onion requiring peeling but it defintely deserves to be sipped and enjoyed over a period of an evening, the flavors are quite subtle but the alcohol is strong which is a testament to the brewer here (meaning you get really nice flavor but the alcohol is a partner not the driver)

verdict?
the more I sip the more I enjoy. even on this mega humid night sitting out on my deck this
grows on you, it is not overwhelming in any fashion but really seduces you.
a definite night cap pick to reminisce with friends for one of those conversations about the old days

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Photo of petacutlasaurus
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Epic brewing just came to D.C. a couple of months ago, holding an event at De Vinos, missed the event, but grabbed this bottle in place. I was pleasantly surprised. Full bodied with a forward taste of dark fruits and a trace of the "oak" - very pleasant. On the back end, you get hit with the "smoked" aspect of the beer. It's somewhat subtle, but those crispy burnt notes really make for a great close. It seems like there are Epic bottles everywhere, and I look forward to picking up another.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a smoked Belgian? I wasn't sure what to make of this one, a seemingly strange fusion between the german rauch style and the Belgian yeast was sure to be strange, and this indeed is a stranger. pours a light brown shade, cloudy, with only a thin film of tan suds. the nose is Belgian yeasty, some bright plantain fruity flavors, but also that classic biscuit dry crumbly spicy teacake sort of vibe. plenty of smoke, sweeter smoke, some toffee and caramel, nutty too like a good brittle. the oak isn't as strong in the nose as it is in the taste, the whole back end of this is whiskey soaked and really vanilla heavy, especially as it warms. the smoke flavor is rather mild and despite my hesitance, actually matches up very well with the Belgian yeast. the alcohol is nowhere to be found, which is nice, it allows the complex flavors to not be disturbed. the finish is long and yeasty, with a campfire feel. low carbonation is still just enough, and the texture is soft. overall a very interesting combination of flavors, im not sure its balanced perfectly, but I really like the idea behind this one. went well with some cheese steal pizza, and I can think of a range of other food pairings. for the adventurous palate.

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Photo of rangerred
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a goblet out of a 22oz bomber.

Pours a murky medium brown with really no head to speak of. Just a few specks of lacing grace the sides of the glass along with a fairly solid ring around the top of the beer.

The aroma is mostly bourbon. Oak, of course, also figures in predominently. Some burnt caramel and a touch of peat along with a little dark fruit. Nice but could be a bit more balanced.

Huge shot of bourbon up front in the flavor. This really never fades and unfortunately tends to mask some of the other flavors I feel are underneath. There is definitely some dark fruit along with peat and caramel. Very full, sticky mouthfeel although the sweetness is kept in check.

Overall, a decent beer but very overpriced in my opinion. The whiskey is just too dominent and buries the other flavors. A touch more balance could really do wonders for this beer.

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Photo of hreb
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Release #27, SLC#1501, 11.9%alc./vol. 22oz of apparently 1,800 bottles produced. Served in an imperial pint glass this beer pours thick and sludgy, resisting any head formation, reddish brown in color, and not at all transparent. Heavy, sweet fruity aroma, reminiscent of apple juice. Or raisins. I'm not getting smoke in the nose, but I could be convinced this is barleywine. Flavor confirms it: this is barleywine, and a pretty good one at that. More dark fruit than dark Belgian ale. Prunes. And quite a bit of residual sugar. There is a little bit of a Belgian yeast note in the finish, but that's really all. I don't think this beer is properly called Belgian in any legitimate sense. "Imperial" might be a better descriptor. Anyway, it's quite enjoyable, though I'd been hoping for smokier.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap (quick review):
Not a fan of smoked beers, but I loved the nose on this one. I really liked my first sips, but (somewhat unsurprisingly) I outgrew the taste quickly. Then, more surprisingly, the warming of the beer actually helped a tad. I actually think the Belgian base screws up what might be an otherwise interesting beer.

Quick notes: nose and taste of smoke and apple (strangely). Also get an impression of a whiskey in the nose, some whiffs.

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Photo of Benish
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Batch #2 Brewed on September 8, 2010.

Appearance: poured into snifter glass. An instant off-white head built up. Very nice retention. Very slowly dissipated down to quarter inch. Very dark ruby in color.

Smell: Wow. Picked up vanilla and whisky instantly. Also some dried fruits. Thought the whiskey would have faded but it sure hasn't! Smells like a barrel-aged barley wine. Hard to detect the smokiness though.

Taste: whewww the smoke is there this time. Very nice sweet, malty smokiness. Well rounded and smooth. Tasted some cherries, a ton of whiskey, and oak. Further into drinking this, there is a cough syrup taste to it. Very sweet, not much bitterness in the beginning. But then that sweetness transforms to some charred taste with a little heat. I would have suspected the alcohol content to be higher than what's stated on the bottle. There's also a slight tartness lingering around from start to finish. Unfortunately as the beer warmed up further it just became too much. Something about the taste I just couldn't take.

Mouthfeel: heavy and boozy, maybe a little gritty.

Overall: The first few sips were outstanding but than as it came down to room temp, the flavors seemed to have change with that artificially cough syrup and the charred finish. I've never had this before and this happen to be four years old. Will combine this review when I drink the more recent batches.

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Photo of beergoot
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Murky orange colored body with a thin yet persistent head; lots of lively carbonation. Slight smoke aroma with a stronger presence of ripe fruit and heavy malts. Heavy sweet flavor; caramel and toffee; a bit of Belgian yeast funk and strong hop bitterness. Heavy body yet fairly dry finish despite the strong malt sweetness.

A pretty decent big beer. Respectably balanced with a strong malt sweetness over all but tempered with subdued phenol and hop bitterness characteristics. You may detect some boozy notes, but they're pretty well kept in check with the other taste components. A good, cold weather sipper.

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Photo of superspak
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, batch 9, bottled 11/7/2011. Pours hazy reddish brown color with a small 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention that reduces to a thin ring of lace. Some minimal spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big bourbon, caramel, banana, clove, toffee, molasses, apple, raisin, oak, and yeast spices. Some pretty nice aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of big caramel, toffee, raisin, apple, molasses, pepper, clove, banana, oak, vanilla, butterscotch, light bourbon, and light yeast spices. Lingering notes of caramel, toffee, bourbon, oak, molasses, dark fruit, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Some nice balance of malty flavors, with no cloying sweetness. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming present after the finish. Quite drinkable but is still definitely a sipper. Overall this is a nice and very enjoyable Belgian style ale. I really did not notice much smokiness at all; however, it had a nice and quite complex malt flavor profile from the bourbon barrel aging. Very enjoyable to sip on.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Release #7.

A: Deep burgundy when backlighted exposes a dense turbidity of swirling particulate matter in the vessel. A whispy desert sand tinted head is weak on the hold but offers some lace.

S: The aroma was decent, oaky alcohol character dominates, some scotch but not much smokiness.

T: The flavor was strong oaky alcohol upfront, scotch laced fruitiness of apples, along with some sugar malt and dry grainy toasted grains. Sweet and boozy, warm alcohol at punch out. The smokiness lies low but offers gentle hints and compliments. Smoked toffee and munich sweetness along with some figs. Nice flavor though the booziness takes over at times.

M: Slippery and syrupy texture, sweet and boozy, low carbonation with a boozy warmth on the swallow.

O: Overall the smokiness is very subtle, the alcohol not so much with a boozy fruitiness that makes this a slow sipper but with an interesting complexity.

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Photo of metter98
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy amber orange in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation near the edges of the glass. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down, leaving delicate lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderately strong aromas of oak from the barrel aging are present in the nose along with some hints of smoke.
T: The taste is nearly an inverse of the smell—there are lots of flavors of iodine and Band-Aids from the smoke and notes of oak from the barrel aging and hints of whiskey. No flavors of dark fruits or Belgian Yeast are perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather drinkable as it hides its alcohol very well. It seems to takes more like a Rauchbier than a Belgian-Style Ale.

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Photo of OsuJohn
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- dark amber and cloudy. Very little head.

S-sweet hints of bourbon? It smells malty with bread aroma.

T- the first sip is complex, but the smoke flavor is evident in the end of the end.

M- on first sip I can taste the alcohol. There us a heaviness but I think it comes from the abundance of flavors.

O- I wish I was eating bbq right now! This is a pretty good here but would be great with some food. I think I could go through a couple of these on there own, but would have to deity it up eventually.

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Photo of Pencible
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a cloudy dark copper with almost no head.
S: It smelled like banana nut bread and smoked malt, with a little caramel and ham.
T: It tasted like ham and banana nut bread, with some smokey barley and metallic hops. It had a bittersweet and smokey aftertaste that was a bit harsh.
M: It was somewhat thick with moderate carbonation. Nice body.
D: This was a pretty nice beer. The scent and taste were good, like half dubbel and half rauchbier. The body was good too, and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was pretty easy to drink. Not sure if it will improve with age. It's nice fresh, but enjoyable mostly just as a one time novelty.

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Photo of ebrauser
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz into a pint glass

Appearance: Dark red/amber with a tight beige head and lots of CO2. Minimal lacing, though head retention is good.

Smell: Smoked salmon and subtle grapes

Flavor: Smokey-sweet. Starts with a sweet grape juice (almost vinous) flavor then taken over by strong smoke. Along with vanilla and light fruits, there is another sort of flavor, I think it is what Epic calls 'peat.'

MF: Light like a belgian, but with substantial flavor and minimal yeastiness. Easy to drink but the smoke might be too strong for multiples of this beer.

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Photo of mactrail
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber in the small snifter with a coarse foam that doesn't last well. Sweet and tangy witha dose of brown sugar. Hot with alcohol.

Deep fruity flavors of raisin and fig with apple butter. More of a barley wine than a Belgian taste. Slight drying effect, though. More fruity than barrel flavored, but there's a hint of vanilla. Burnt sugar with cherry brandy.

Sugary finish. Alcohol and mincemeat pie aromas. From the bottle at Epic Annex in Sugar House.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer is brown in color with an off-white head. As expected, lots of smoke on the nose. Fairly nutty and a mild meatiness. Just a bit of salt in there as well. A mild sweetness of toffee and brown sugar. The flavor has a nice toffee malt sweetness, more than the aroma, to go along with the pronounced smokiness. Lots of salt, toasted nuts, and a bit of a woodiness.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 01/15/12 notes. Thanks to nmann08 for sharing this one.

a - Pours a medium amber color with two inches of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of fruity malts, light spice, smoked malts, peat. Less smoked than I was expecting, and decently fruity.

t - Tastes of smoked malts, smoked bacon, fruity malts, caramel, toasted and roasted malts. Much more smoke here than in the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a decent smoked beer. Nose isn't overpowering, and has some nice fruit, and then the taste hits you with a ton of smoke. Worth checking out if you liked smoked beers.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Epic's Smoked and Oaked Belgian Style Ale a couple months ago for $9.89 at The Lager Mill. I've been holding on to this one for a little while and since I like smoked beers and Oak aged beers I thought this would be pretty interesting to try, I don't think I have ever had a smoked beer that was aged in barrels, so lets see how it goes. Release #9 2011 Vintage. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label is pretty simple and plain looking, it's not that eye catching. It poured a nice looking caramel brown color that took on a slight ruby and burn orange hue when held to the light with two fingers worth of light tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left some nice rings of lacing behind. This is a pretty good looking beer, the color was very nice and the head and lacing were nice for the style.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of sweetness followed by a medium smoke aroma with some malts coming up next imparting some caramel and sweet malt aromas with a good amount of dark fruits and some brown bread in the background. Up next comes a medium amount of yeast that has an abbey ale yeast like aroma with some oak and vanilla aromas with a light bourbon like flavor that show up towards the end along with a slight boozy aroma. The aroma is nice, the smoke and oak aren't too overpowering, but there's a little too much sweetness for me..

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a high amount of sweetness that's a little too strong and imparts a brown sugar like flavor followed by a lighter smoke flavor that gives way to loads of malts that have a caramel and sweet malt like flavors with some brown bread in the background and some dark fruits showing up nicely. Up next comes some woody, oak and vanilla like flavors with a slight bit of alcohol showing up with some Belgian yeast in the background. On the finish I get a light amount of bitterness with a slight bourbon like flavor with a very sweet, caramel and woody aftertaste with just a slight bit of smoke. This beer tastes nice, but I thought the sweetness was just too overpowering.

M- Fairly smooth, slightly warming alcohol, cloying, sticky, rich, full bodied, with a slightly lower amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was ok, I liked the richness, but I thought the it was too cloying and sticky.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and a nice example of the style, I can see the Belgian Strong Dark Ale base coming through in this beer and it wasn't buried under the smoke and oak flavors which made it well balanced for the most part but the sweetness threw that off a little. This beer didn't have the best drinkability, it was fairly smooth, the alcohol was hidden well and the flavor did a decent job at holding my attention, but the sweetness was to sticky and cloying, half a bottle is enough for me, I think the sweetness would become too much if tried to drink the whole bottle by myself. What I liked the most about this beer was how balanced the oak and smoked aspects were, neither one was too overpowering. What I liked the least about this beer was the sweetness, it was too overpowering and that really hurt the drinkability. I don't think I would buy this beer again, I like most of the flavors, but it's just too sweet for me and it was a little pricey, if I didn't get 20% off I don't think I would have bought it, but I might order a glass of a newer batch to see what it's like fresh and I would recommend this to people who like sweet beers, barley wines, and barrel aged beers. All in all this was an interesting beer, I liked the combination of the smoked malts and bourbon barrels, the combination makes for a flavor that reminds me a little of scotch. This wasn't the best beer I have had from Epic, but it was far from the worst and I appreciated it for the most part but the sweetness was just not for me. I'm still not that experienced with Epic, but they do make some interesting beers, nice work guys.

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Photo of JayQue
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not bad! More smokey than Belgian, but is goes down nicely. Poured into my Chimay goblet. An orangy brown color with a smallish off white head. About average head retention and minimal lacing.

Aroma a bit weak for a Belgian. A little dark fruit and some smokiness. None of the yeast, spices, candi sugar etc that you would expect in a strong Belgian.

Taste is pretty good. THe smokiness is just right and there is some malt, dark fruit and a little sweetness to round things out.

Mouthfeel is rich, there is a distinct alcohol "burn" but not enough to ruin the drinking experience. A year's aging is probably in order.

Not a top-tier Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but not a bad beer either.

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Photo of mothman
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a copper amber color. A layer of beige head with a little bit of lace left.

Aroma: Smoke and some roasted malts. Liquid bacon. A hint of whiskey and some oak. Light spice.

Taste: Much like the nose, but more bacon flavors. The whiskey adds a nice layer. Fairly oaky. Campfire smoke. Where are the Belgian flavors?

Mouthfeel: Smoked and dry. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with more smoked flavors.

Overall, this was a decent beer, but I would have never guessed this to be a Belgian. It reminds me more of a German rauchbier. Decent stuff.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to nmann08 for sharing this bottle last weekend. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

Pours a fairly-clear light brown-copper color with a good white head and a bit of lacing. The nose has a moderate amount of oak plus some semi-sweet malts. Smoke is moderate. The flavor is similar. Everything is really muddled and "in between," though nothing is really off. The smoked character isn't too heavy as to be overpowering, which is refreshing. Light-medium body. Interesting, but probably not something that I would come back to.

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Photo of billab914
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Bruery tulip. It poured a murky caramel color with a modest, frothy head barely covering the top of the beer.

The aroma shows a lot of the sweeter, caramel malts to it. I get just a little of the smoke along with some crisp, tart fruits.

The taste shows more of the sweeter, caramel malts to it up front. Midway it seems all about the Belgian yeast and crisp fruits, while the finish is where the smoke really shines. It's very cool how the flavors change so much and how different they are. The smoke in the finish is probably my favorite while up front it feels a little more overly sweet and unbalanced.

The mouthfeel is leaning towards the heavier side with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a decent beer, I liked the smoke to it but it also felt a little overly sweet and sugary at times. It was a neat range of flavors, but they didn't really come together all that well.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Batch #9

A - Pours a hazy raisin chestnut brown color with a small amount of head retention and a fairly thin, cream colored lacing ring. Hazy when cold and clears as the beer warms.

S - Dark Belgian candy sugar, caramel toffee malt, figs, raisins, and bready thick aroma.

T - A mixture of of whisky/bourbon, sweet caramel and toffee bread-like malt, oak, vanilla, , some cherries, and prunes.

M - Thick, full bodied, slippery, and sticky with alcohol warming in the back of the the throat.

O - The first thing that comes to mind is "thick and boozy". The smoke character was completely gone but I'm reviewing Batch #9 and I believe the Batch # is now somewhere around 18 so it's to be expected. I'd like to try a newer batch because this is drinking more like a barleywine right now.

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Photo of gford217
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle.

Pours clear amber with a small bubbly beige head that recedes and leaves little lacing.

Aroma is ever-so-slightly smoked with lots of sweet Belgian yeast esters and caramelized sugar.

Taste is more of the same with the sweetness of the Belgian yeast and dark fruits melding with the lightly smoked malts.

Mouthfeel is light bodied for the style with soft carbonation.

This is a subtle beer all the way around. Light sweetness, light smokiness, easy drinking but nothing memorable.

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Smoked & Oaked Belgian-Style Ale from Epic Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 291 ratings.
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