Ursa Minor | Rising Tide Brewing Company

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Ursa MinorUrsa Minor

Brewed by:
Rising Tide Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark as squid ink and moody as the sea, Ursa Minor is our take on a winter wheat beer. Starting with a German wheat-beer yeast and a base of malted wheat, we added a blend of dark crystal and roasted malts to create a wheat stout. Redolent of dark fruit, weizen yeast esters, and roasted barley, Ursa Minor is perfect for an icy winter’s eve.

Added by dciBA on 12-18-2010

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Reviews: 56 | Ratings: 161
Photo of dpgoblejr
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Black/brown in appearance with only a minimal tan colored head and not much lacing. Aroma is of toasted marshmallows, wood, chocolate, and malts. Taste is of dark fruits, cocoa, and oak. Medium bodied at best but coats well enough and has nice drinkability. To summarize; this is a really good stout with a unique twist that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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4.46/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't done a review in over a year but this beer almost demanded it. It is rare anymore when I am really surprised by a beer but this one is really flying under the radar.

Pours like liquid gold, totally black body and a beautiful two finger thick rich milk chocolate brown head. All the looks of a big bold stout.

Smell is soft and rich, but more like a Scottish ale with the dominant malt tones. Subtle and slightly musky sweet on the nose.

Taste is not what I expected but is truely wonderful. Rich, creamy and overall very mellow for a stout. Malt is well balanced and prickly sweet on the tongue. This almost comes off more like a porter or black ale, but in all the right ways. So smooth and almost sessionable for a 6.7% stout. Mouthfeel is just perfect. I really could drink this brew by the growler full.

I am a hardcore stout fan and don't mind at all that this stout is a bit soft. It is absolutely delicious!

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Photo of joshsbeerblog
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased bomber for $7 on 1/29/11 from Lighthouse Wine & Seafood in Manchester, ME.

I thought Rising Tide's Ishmael was a solid, if unspectacular, first effort. A little pricey as a starting price point, but I definitely wanted to give them another try.

As a "Weizen Stout" this beer drew on mostly German ingredients... which did not excite me, quite honestly. Totally unneccesary though -- this was amazing!

Nearly black pour with attractive tan head... I get both Weizen and Stout characteristics in the aroma... A cacophany of flavors hit your tongue: chocolate, banana, vanilla, hazelnut, roastiness and bitterness... Medium bodied, spot on carbonation, and very clean.

Simply put, this one shocked me. I thought it came together just perfectly. The best beer I have had for a couple of months. Try it.

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Photo of BobZ
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into my Duvel Tulip, 2010 vintage.

Appearance: Rich dark brown, builds a big billowy dark tan head of 3” that slowly recedes to about an 1”. Very nice looking beer.

Smell: Roasted malt and chocolate come through right away, smells as nice as any other solid stout.

Taste: Wow what a nice surprise, up front you get the chocolate and the roasted malt then the weizen yeast flavors subtly creep in adding a really nice dimension to the beer. I don’t get an overwhelming banana or clove, just some nice hints beneath the bittersweet chocolate. Very flavorful beer.

Mouthfeel: Aggressively carbonated which helps build that initial head but also actually adds to a smooth mouthfeel and a clean palate.

Overall: This was a very unique take on a stout, I’ll be buying more on my next trip to Maine. Congratulations to a new brewery trying something different and making it work well. Very good beer.

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Photo of jlindros
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker colored fluffy 1.5 finger head that fades semi slowly over jet black colored beer, just the faintest hint of signs of light come through on the corners, keeping it from pitch black.

Nose is interesting, a nice dark malt, light roast and black patent malt, a nice smoked malt aroma too, slight smoked cheese, some light caramel and vanilla, hint of dark chocolate, a bit of a dark wheat aroma, hard to detect, but once I'm used to the dark malts just a faint hint of yeast fruits come through.

Taste starts with a nice smoked malt, light smoke, some darker malts, light black patent and light roast, little toffee, caramel, chocolate, etc. Then there is a definite weizen flavor, some wheats both dark and light cut through, with a bit of an interesting spicy weizen flavor, also a hint of hefe yeast fruits and wheats. Some light creamy oats and fluffy flavors, light spices (not real spices, spices from the hefe style yeast). Finishes fairly dry, some bitter spicy and slightly earthy hops start to come through on the finish, some light lingering roast and smoke, and lighter and crisp.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, lightly creamy, with decent carbonation.

Overall a pretty good beer. THey combined weizen style dark wheats with a nice German Hefe spicy and fruity yeast, and some nice dark malts blended, and just a bit of spicy and earthy hops to finish. A good job of innovation.

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Photo of girltuesday
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An impressive second offering from Rising Tide that does not disappoint!

I was fortunate to get a glass on draught at the GLB two weeks ago during the Brewer's preview before the Ursa Minor sold out (in less than two hours!). I just picked up a couple of bottles (at RSVP in Portland) in time for the holidays. I have visions of Ursa dancing in my head . . . .

Ursa pours a beautiful, rich black and it offers a nice bouquet that smells like roasted bananas to me. The taste is complex but well-balanced: Initial sip offers the sort of roast-y goodness one would expect from a stout. And though it's got a bit of bite it is nicely followed by toffee and banana (though it's not sweet). Notably, Ursa has a nice, clean finish; it is not cloying on the palate like some stouts/full-bodied beers.

Also notable: it's not a heavy stout. Despite the complexities in the palate, its effervescence keeps it light, making it very drinkable and accessible.

They're on a roll--cannot wait for Rising Tide's next offering!

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Photo of gford217
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another new Maine beer from Ben.

I was really surprised at how great this looked out of the bottle. Almost completely black with a big, super thick tan head that showed excellent retention and lacing. One of the best looking standard stouts I've seen.

Aroma is really nice as well, almost smells like chocolate covered bananas. Lots of roasted chocolate malts balanced with the fruitiness of the wheat.

The taste isn't quite as robust as the look and nose would suggest, a lighter version of the nose is how I'd describe it. The chocolate is a little more muted and there is a tad more toasty character. There is still plenty of fruit with the finish being a mixture of dry cocoa and overripe bananas.

Mouthfeel is decent but not quite as full and creamy as I was expecting. Moderate carbonation and light to medium bodied.

I'm pretty impressed with this one and have to say that the aroma and look were close to world class for the style. The taste isn't quite as impressive but the bar was set pretty high when it came out of the bottle. Diggin' it.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a mug the beer was black with a thick cocoa-colored head that resembled whipped cream.
Aroma of sweet fruit and roasted malt.
Complex taste, lots going on. Raisins, banana, fruity. Chocolate. Smokey.
Medium-bodied. the flavors all came together really well.
This was an enjoyable, change of pace beer. Different.

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Photo of theo871
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A - Pours a dark black, with a nice dark brown head that leaves some lacing behind.

S - I have never smelled a stout like this. Picking up on banana notes. Smells very similar to a dunkelweizen.

T - This beer does an amazing job at combining both the characteristics of a wheat beer and a stout. Fruity notes combine beautifully with the roasty, chocolate flavors of a stout.

M - A nice amount of carbonation, more than your average stout. Finishes clean and smooth.

D - I enjoyed the whole bottle, every sip was interesting. Many layers of flavor and texture to be discovered in this beer.

Rising Tide is off to a great start, I look forward to their next offering!

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Photo of sprucetip
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown, but not quite black, with a little light sneaking in around the edges when backlit. The first pour into goblet was done carefully, and the dense mocha head was thin, and didn't stick around too long. The next pour was more aggressive, and there was plenty of head, though the retention was still modest. There was some patchy lacing left after the foam receded. Very good looking stout.

The general character is precisely "weizen stout," something I had never heard of, or even pondered. But what a great idea. The aroma is delicately balanced roasty and banana-fruity german yeast influences blending and banking off one another very well. Would I have picked up on the banana specifically if I didn't know about the weizen yeast? Not sure, but it's there. Kinda musty too, in a subtle way. It's also got some malty sweetness and chocolate adding depth. Not super duper complex, but but really smooth. ...and upon the second, more aggressive pour, more of everything!

Medium roast, rich chocolaty malty sweetness, and banana fruity yeasty flavors coincide delightfully. I couldn't quite go 4.5, but I thought about it.

Spot on medium carbonation, medium body, light viscosity and a very clean finish with just the faintest hint of roasty bitterness.

Not only a creative idea, but the execution of this guerilla attack upon the style nazis was done perfectly! I'm impressed. Really good beer. Looking forward to having it again, and seeing what else Rising Tide has up their sleeves.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

deep dark brown, nearly opague with a nice tight tan head, very quick fade to a nice film with a good bit of lace. Lots of audible carbonation when poured was definatly noticeable.

Very nice robust caramel smell mixed with aromas of coffee and hints of roasted nuts and a touch of chocolate. Overall not bad. First impression was really just the perfect carbonation, great frothy and fluffy mouthfeel and just all around benefit to the palate. Lots of caramel flavors and again a bit of a smoked hint at the back. Small flavors of roasted nuits, chocolate and hints at black coffee. Very nice

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Photo of dciBA
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice black into my shaped pint glass. Labeled as a weizen stout, I wasn't sure what glass to use. Weizen glass didn't seem appropriate for a stout, and after pouring those suspicions were confirmed. A thin tan head forms and lingers for quite a while.

Most notable on the nose is roasted barley and coffee. There's also a nice amount of banana from the weizen yeast.

Flavor is dominated by a rich roastiness initially followed by banana and some caramel and toffee as well. Taste is quite nice and just what I expected after reading the label.

Mouthfeel is stellar with this beer. Full and creamy with a touch more carbonation than the average stout. I suspect this was done on purpose due to the use of wheat, and a weizen yeast. Overall this is a very drinkable wheat stout. Perfect for wheat beer fanatics like myself who want to drink wheat beers year round but grow tired of the usual weizenbock during the cold months.

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Photo of ElGallo
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber poured into a cervoise. I missed out on the first release from this new Maine brewery, but the idea of a "weizen stout" drew me in immediately.

Very dark pour, alomst opaque, with a decent head that fades, but lacing remains. The nose on this is great: like a German dunkel with some dark fruit and chocolate notes. Very unique and very inviting.

Tastes like the star chart label states, like a "weizen stout." No burnt malt bitterness, no chalky aftertaste. This is wheaty, chocolaty, and smooth all the way through. Incredibly easy to drink. I love this departure from both traditional wheat beers and traditional stouts. This goes down very easy and I could easily consume another bomber without blinking.

Overall this is a very creative take on a stout, yet it works so well, you could call this sessionable, even with a higher-than-session ABV.

Well done Rising Tide. Give us more beer please, because your creativity is filling a void in the beer spectrum... or something like that.

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Photo of illpass78
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a stout glass.

Appearance: Pours a solid black with a thin crown of brown foam.

Aroma: Smells of oak, coffee, and dark brown bread.

Taste: This beer has a smooth, somewhat dry flavor, with brown wheat bread and coffee very present. Also a little bit of dark, slightly milky chocolate. Tasty.

Mouthfeel: Nice and smooth, and a little lighter than its appearance would lead you to assume.

Overall: Nice, somewhat dessert-like stout. I'd try this again, and I'm excited to try its more muscular cousin, Polaris.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A new one from Rising Tide, awesome. Their first beer (Ishmael) hit the shelves last fall, then I didn't hear much, and now I'm glad to see both that and the new Ursa Minor on the shelves. Shall we?

Wasn't sure what to expect from this "Weizen Stout". It pours an nice deep brown, nearly black, nice ample brown head somewhat like a dunkel, recedes to a nice covering foam that sticks around. Nose is pretty great - cocoa powder and light roast, melded with a banana wheat profile. One might could think of something like a chocolate covered banana covered in nuts.

Mmm, lots of roasty goodness to this one, mellowed out by the wheat and fruity German yeast base. Hops seem to not be much of a factor in this beer. Smooth and soft on the palate, slightest hint of bitterness in the finish, but I will again use the word "mellow" here. This one is all too smooth and easy quaffable at a sneaky %6.7... Very nice, and I like the German / American hybrid thing this brewery seems to have going, at least as far as their first two beers are concerned. Good flavor, easy drinkin', laid back beer. Will look for more from these guys in the future... Can they brew a hoppy beer?

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Photo of Florida9
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Black in color. When poured into a tulip, it forms a moderate-sized very dark mocha colored head that fizzes away rather quickly to a bubbly surface coating. Very little lacing.

S: Aroma is full of dark fruits. Black cherry and plum. Some sweeter chocolate, a little coffee and a hint of black pepper.

T: Taste is fairly curious. This stout is on the sweeter side of things. Again there are the dark fruits: prune and cherry. And again there is the semi-sweet chocolate. There is a bit of coffee to a lesser extent and a wheat-like flavor that really just gets overpowered by everything else. Cocoa powder on the finish.

M: On the lighter side of heavy. Lower carbonation levels give this one a smooth feel on the front end, but its fairly chalky on the finish.

O: An interesting take on the style. Not a bad beer by any means. Somewhat lighter than most stouts while offering up a bit more complexity as well makes this one a pretty good drink.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bomber purchased at Trader Joe's in Portland. Pours a pretty much opaque black body with a thin film of light tan head. Dark chocolate and espresso beans mix with clove, banana, and bubblegum to comprise the aroma. Clove, nut, and dark chocolate hit the palate at first, fading into fresh espresso toward the finish. Surprisingly light-bodied with moderate to low carbonation. I'm wondering if I'm drinking it a little fresh and it hasn't had time to properly carbonate. Otherwise, it's a tasty balanced stout that doesn't taste quite like any other stout I've had. Awesome idea having a stout/hefe mix.

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Photo of fmccormi
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a pry-off 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance (4.5): Black as night! Holy crap this is dark, but a medium-brown around the edges. Deep tan head, dies down relatively quickly.

Smell (4.0): Bits of coffee, an odd wheat scent, like charred wheat. No hops to speak of in the nose.

Taste (4.0): More coffee. Some of the fruity banana-ness you’d expect from the “weizen” part of this starts to come in, especially as it warms a bit and opens up. JUST a bit of dark chocolate. At first, the banana is really pretty subtle—taste is mainly coffee and charred wheat, with some mild, chewy yeastiness followed by a little bit of banana finishing out the back end. That banana definitely increases as it warms, and moves forward quite a bit on the palate.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Relatively light, actually. Not too sticky or thick, which I suppose isn’t surprising considering it’s 6.7% abv. Light- to medium-bodied, with a dry finish.

Overall (4.0): This is an interesting stout, and I’m enjoying it. I’d enjoy a thicker body with more weizen-y banana happening here, though I appreciate how quaffable it is. I bet this’d be killer on cask.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Drazzamatazz for this beer. Cheers! Taken from notes.

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a nice dark brown color. About two fingers of mocha colored head are achieved with a moderate pour.

Smell – Dark roasted malts, caramel, cocoa, slight dark fruits.

Taste – Interesting beer. Begins as a stout with the roasted malts and bittersweet cocoa. Next comes a distinct weizen flavor such as banana, yeast, and malts.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, very creamy, lower carbonation.

Overall – Was on the fence when trying this but it was actually not that bad. Glad to try it.

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Photo of BierBliss
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

Aroma: wheat aroma

Appearance: pours black, no head, minor lacing that does not stick

Flavor: chocolate, slight coffee, wheat hints

Mouthfeel: crisp, little carbonation

Overall: not a blend I would expect, it got better as it warmed but not too bad overall

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Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A good looking black beer with a brown head, surprised that this is only 6.7%, as it has the look of a double more than a single stout.

S - Really interesting, I get the heavy stout notes with the bitter chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, but something strange with the weizen malts. Banana, dark fruit, and dunkle notes. Not bad, very interesting.

T - This tastes like a really great roasted stout that someone threw some some weizen malts in. It's kind of distracting really. This is actually a really good stout with roasty and molasses qualities. It's kind of like drinking a belgian RIS, great stout but you try to ignore the other qualities. This one takes some getting used to. It's good, but so different, it's hard to tell if you really like it or not.

M - Full bodied, a lot more heft than I was expecting.

D - A good beer, not sure if I love it or like it, want to have it again to get used to the style. Not sure if "weizen stout" qualifies as its own style, but would recommend this to anyone looking for something new.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cellar temperature bottle was split between two pint glasses.

A: Opaque dark liquid, colored dark brown. Large dark brown head as well, made up of foam and bubbles.

S: Caramel and chocolate notes, some roasted coffee, but not much. Maybe some plum as well.

T: Roasted malts. They wheat aspects are strongest at the finish and aftertaste. Some dark fruits are present, mild bitterness.

M: Creamy and smooth. A little sticky, but the coating is flavorful.

O: An enjoyable stout. The creaminess and wheat aspects are the stand out components of this beer. It's another winner from Rising Tide, and worth trying.

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Photo of JAFoley
4/5  rDev +2.8%

A - Thick opaque black body with thin bubbly dark tan head. Not very good retention, though I struggled to get the head to rise from the pour, but some nice lacing.

S - Dark sugary cherries and tons of oak.

T - Slight floral hop bitterness upfront followed by sweet fruits and chocolate. Aftertaste is hoppy with some medicine flavor.

M - Medium/full body with moderate carbonation. Sticky and syrupy.

O - This was great. Lots of nice flavors and very drinkable. One of Rising Tide's better beers in my opinion.

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Photo of MDDMD
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown color with a decent tan head and good lacing

S-coffee, chocolate, toffee, dark fruit, roasted malt

T-chocolate, coffee, dark roasted malt, little molasses, slight bitterness to the finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-interesting stout, good flavor, would be interesting to try an imperial version of this

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Photo of puboflyons
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the bottle marked 111BORN-NOV12. Sampled on March 18, 2013.

The color of the pour is very dark brown to charcoal black with a small, short-lived beige head.

Coffee and dark malts lead the aromas with a mellower subtle hop note around the edges. Little in the way of wheat.

The body is medium and thinner than I might like in a stout.

While the coffee and dark malts are still noticeable in the taste there is also a slight dark fruit like cranberry or plum playing up a bit. It is not difficult to drink.

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Ursa Minor from Rising Tide Brewing Company
3.89 out of 5 based on 161 ratings.
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