Polaris | Rising Tide Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Rising Tide Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Polaris is our first special release beer—a wheat stout aged in Jim Beam bourbon barrels. We started with our winter weizen stout Ursa Minor, fermenting it to completion in steel before barrel aging it for 5 months. Hints of the base beer remain but with the added complexity of vanilla, raisin, bourbon, and oak notes. Conditioned to a moderately low level of carbonation in the bottle, this beer is a perfect cold-evening sipper.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 100
Photo of mmorris15
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost-black with a head that recedes quickly. Aroma of whiskey, wood, cocoa, and yeast. Flavors of banana, cocoa, clove, and a hint of barrel-presence. Feel is on the thinner side. Overall, pretty solid beer from Rising Tide.

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Photo of michaelpearson
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well done Rising Tide -- this held up exceptionally well! Admittedly, I didn't cellar this properly and was pleasantly surprised how good this beer was, especially given the preceding. Lovely,
high carbonation that pops the cork with head that lingers like the lacing of an Americano. Nose is subtle and blended reminiscent of chocolate pot de creme. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and full bodied without any heaviness. Tastes like dark chocolate with a wonderful subtle bourbon coating. Overall this beer is disappearing far too quickly from my glass. Wish I had another one stashed...

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Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a huge head that lingers forever. Beer itself is totally opaque and midnight black. The head is a creme brulee color. The nose is somewhat coffee-like, but, unlike some other stouts it seems rather subdue with some very rich oaky-vanilla notes. The taste is exceptionally smooth, none of the harsh burnt flavor that most stouts have. The first flavor is a surprisingly sweet maltiness, this becomes chocolaty, with lots of vanilla, and just a bit of boozy heat on the head.

Overall this is an excellent stout and I really don't like stouts. Flavor profile is fairly standard stout, but with a bit more booze and a really nice vanilla oak smoothness.

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Photo of Bugs318
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Yeast presence offers banana up front mixed with some cocoa. As fizzy beige head recedes, barrel comes forward with Vanilla and more chocolate. Taste is similar with a rich and moderately sweet complexity, balancing fruity yeast, roasty grain, and Barrel woody and vanilla qualities. A touch thin, but solid.

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Photo of smcolw
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Rim bubbles come from the small head. No lace. Deep, deep brown where no light shines through.

Dark, nearly burnt toast smell. Biscuity.

Think brandy and stout blended. It's tasty. Chewy but not too full a body. Higher carbonation.

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Photo of illpass78
4.62/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12.7 oz. bottle poured into a stout glass.

Appearance: Pours a solid black with a big tan head. Some bubbles noticeable.

Aroma: Smells of whiskey, bourbon, coffee, dark chocolate and booze.

Taste: Big, tasty bitter chocolate presence up front. There's a wheaty, bready note along with dark fruits and plenty of the whiskey and bourbon that are present in the nose. Also notes of coffee and espresso.

Mouthfeel: Pretty heavy beer, at least to my palate. A sipper for me.

Overall: Terrific wintry stout. Complex, fulfilling, and full of flavor. Would recommend to any fan of dark beers.

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

A: absolutely no head I wasn't sure it wasn't bad no carbonation

S: wow this beer just smells like straight up whiskey

T: very very low carbonation and straight up whiskey almost tastes like a mead I had once it's really not horrible

M: really a muted mouthfeel kinda like a water down whiskey

O: Don't bother really a muddled waste of time it's not a stand out anywhere just kinda whiskey flavored

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Photo of poolemhore
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - pitch black pour into a pint glass (wrong glassware oh well), half a finger tan head that doesn't hang on too long, very fine bubbles, minimal lacing

S - alcohol front and center, very red wine-esque, coffee and roasted scents hidden deep below

T - astringent and alcoholic up front, whiskey/bourbon middle (smoother than the first bit), butterscotch sweet finish

M - smooth and light with a slight tingle toward the end

O - this is a winter warmer for sure. Very complex. A bit unbalanced I feel as that alcohol kick is a bit too strong for my liking. Might have been better letting this one age a bit longer, but I'm not dissatisfied.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours pitch black, opaque in the glass, with a fine, huge brown head with good retention and thick lacing. Aroma of sweet toasted malt, lots of vanilla and toffee (actually smells a lot like a vanilla toffee candy), mild earthyness, light bourbon. Smells great. Starts out with bourbon soaked dark toasted malt, then thins out to a more bourbon influenced, vanilla, chocolate and caramel character, finishing with lingering bourbon barrel and light greassy hops. Different, but good. Medium bodied, lighter than expected from a rich stout. Starts out as a barrel aged stout experience, but then presents an interesting light body from the wheat that actually showcases the other relatively complex flavors. Not as sweet as the aroma suggests, overall well integrated, but you will know this is bourbon barrel aged. I enjoyed this quite tasty and off-beat stout (they call it a barrel aged wheat stout and that fits perfectly). Hope I can find something else from this brewery. If the body of most heavy barrel aged stouts is too much for you, it may be worth trying this out as a nice change.

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Photo of Etan
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

375ml sent by Valdieu2. Autumn 2013 bottle, /1620. Thanks! Into a flute glass.

A: Pours brownish black with a small dark cocoa-colored head.

S: Thick notes of bourbon and fudge push up, along with some dry oak and soft raisiny sweetness. This smells more robust than the 6.7% would suggest.

T: Taste brings milky coffee, mild bourbon and oak, dry dusting of cocoa, slight vinous note.

M: Medium-bodied with almost-frothy carbonation.

O: This is pretty nice. Man times lighter-strength stouts get washed out by the barrels, but Rising Tide managed to keep things pretty balanced here.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A-Cork launches out of the bottle with almost zero coercion. The body is very, very dark. Minimal light invasion. A nice, thin tan head forms atop the beer with soft lacing.

S-The bourbon really jumps out at me. Boozy chocolate and fudge. Maybe a little bit of dark fruit and some clearer roast. The bourbon barrel is the high point.

T-The wheat really stands out here where I didn't find much of it in the nose. Bourbon is again very noticeable but not as dominating. Sweet dark fruits, maybe figs. Chocolate and lighter roast. Some espresso notes. A unique flavor.

M-I have a few qualms here. Body is light, I know it's not a huge stout! but the body is a hair too light. Also the carbonation is too aggressive. It doesn't work well with the robust flavors.

O/D-A pretty neat beer. Too pricey for the 375ml format. I thought the barrel character was nice. Worth a try.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Late Autumn 2012 release. 12.7 oz. C&C bottle. Limited release of 960 bottles.

A: Pours a pitch black color with 2 fingers worth of dark tan head that quickly fizzles away to nothing

S: Roasted barley, dark fruits, and a hint of barrel character that includes vanilla, bourbon, and oak. Subtle and complex

T: Follows the nose, only more complex. Starts with the roasted malts and fruity wheat character and goes into the barrel aspects. The barrel imparts the usual vanilla, bourbon, oak, and some tannins. Again, the barrel is subtle and doesn't overwhelm the base beer

M: Medium bodied with low-moderate carbonation

O: The base beer is already solid, and aging this in Jim Beam barrels only makes it better and more complex. Far from a bourbon bomb, so don't expect that. That said, I'd drink this sooner rather than later given the abv and subtle barrel character. A little pricey at $8.49 for a 12.7 oz. bottle, but this is one unique beer

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22oz bottle into tulip. 2011 bottle - #70.
Pours a deep black with a creamy creamy tan head. Wow, this looks awesome! Nice boozey barrel roasted malt and oaty aroma. Taste is nice booze/bourbon, roasted malt and oat; some coffee notes. Silky smooth as can be, and super easy to drink. I actually thought this was much bigger by the taste, but almost a sessionable stout; if it came in 12oz year-round bottles. Nice brew.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light brown, one-finger head that vanishes quickly leaving no lace. Black color, no highlights, ton of yeast left in bottle. Good carbonation and light-medium bodied, body is a little thin for a stout. Bourbon and sweet wheat nose. Flavor is malty sweet wheat and bourbon. Pricey at $8.50 for a caged and corked 375ml bottle from Tully’s Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of IBU5000
4.57/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was expecting another heavy bourbon aged stout, but found something much better. An excellent beer with smooth but not too smooth notes of oak, bourbon and caramel ending with chocolaty malt finish. Presented in a nice wired corked 22oz bottle.

Pours as a nice tall rolling surf style nougaty tan head that modestly settles without going flat. The head wafts full of butterscotch and vanilla blended nicely with a bourbon-oak foundation that stays with the beer throughout. Emphasis on the head, can't recall the last time I've been this surprised by such a balanced but dynamic bouquet in a stout. Great full-body as expected but goes down buttery smooth with chocolate and hints of espresso at conclusion.

Polaris disappeared on me quickly, it could be a sipper but was too dam quaffable to keep around for my palate. Maybe it was the wheat that brought out the complexity and rich flavors which helped to eliminate that overly roasted malt finish many traditional stronger stouts uphold. Overall a very unique offering…wish I had purchased more than 1 bottle. Another great pour from Rising Tide and the state of Maine.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a pint glass this beer was a very dark brown color with a small tan head.

Mostly an aroma of bourbon. Some vanilla, some roasted malt. Maybe a bit of spice.

The bourbon aroma smoothed out in the taste. Still present, but not as forward. Chocolate and coffee notes, a little bit of vanilla. Things came together well.

This was a smooth, easy-drinking beer. Very enjoyable, will drink it again.

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Photo of ToasterChef
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cellar temperature bottle is poured into a pint glass. This is bottle number 163 of 336.

The beer is completely black, with a decent of amount of tan foam resting on top. The liquid is too opaque to make out and rising carbonation. Lacing is good.

The beer has a strong bourbon aroma. It's like sticking my nose into a glass of Jim Beam. I'm not really smelling any of the roasted malts that make up the nose in Ursa Minor (the base beer). There is a little bit of malty sweetness, but for the most part this beer smells boozy. If it still smells like this after 5 months of aging, I wonder how hot it was when fresh?

Luckily, the bourbon in the flavor isn't as overpowering as in the aroma, although it is still strong. It provides some good oak and peat moss flavors, and a smokiness that works very well with Ursa Minor's roasted malts. There is a slight chocolate flavor here that I didn't pick up on in Ursa Minor, and Polaris doesn't have any obvious wheat characteristics.

The body is thick, but not as thick as some other stouts. It leaves a slight stickiness on my lips. The mouthcoat is also sticky, but retains some decent flavors. Despite the strong aroma, there is no heat from the alcohol.

Although not an amazing bourbon barrel aged stout, this is an enjoyable beer. I think I would have liked to let it age a little longer, but I was in the mood for Rising Tide tonight, so I cracked it open. If you were one the people who sought this beer out, I think you'll be happy with it. Hopefully, this is the first of many barrel aged releases that Nate has in the works. There is a lot of potential here, but I am left wanting slightly more. Still, no part of me regrets checking Facebook obsessively until I saw Polaris was on sale and rushing out right away to secure bottle. I only regret not picking up a second bottle (but with such a low bottle count, I wanted to leave plenty on the shelf).

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Photo of jlindros
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

not sure if I've ever had a wheat based stout before, esp aged in bourbon barrels, so this should be interesting.

Pours a darker colored bubbly fluffy 1 finger head that fades pretty quickly with all the big bubbles popping, leaves just a bit of lacing which surprises me a bit, over almost pitch black beer with slight hints of ruby light sneaking through the edges.

Nose brings a nice blend of malts and bourbon barrel, starting with a bit of a roasty dark malt with hints of coffee, then dark chocolate and baker's choc plus cocoa, then plenty of bourbon to match the malts, a bit of an oak barrel with vanilla and light woody shelf sawdust like barrel aromas, then more malts with caramel, toffee, molasses, and a strange malty softness I can only attribute to the wheat.

Taste starts with slight esters from the wood actually, but then quickly moves to the barrel flavors, some nice bourbon with a light toasty oak and more wood shelf flavors, and a light vanilla and oak chip like. Then malts kick in, some chocolate but not as much as I expected, light baker's chocolate, a bit of roast with hint of coffee, some caramel and light toasty brown malt flavors, toffee, molasses, etc. It gets a very slight burnt malt quality that adds a hint of briny roasty quality that brings it down a bit. It does have a creamy almost oatmeal like feel and flavor, with perhaps a touch of lactose, and a nice soft malt cushion. Some bitterness is brought in with the roasty flavors but also a bit of an earthy hop kick. I also gets very slight hints of dark fruit and even a caramelized banana flavor which is really interesting, and I'm not making that up!!! It finishes sticky and a bit syrupy but slightly drier, with more dark malts, hints of chocolate and caramel, as well as bourbon and barrel woody esters, and a creamy feel all lingering.

Mouth is full bodied, a bit creamy, no real booze, and decent enough carb for the style although its lower than usual.

Overall really interesting, a nice profile with nice malts, a bit more chocolate would have been nice, the roast hits well but just a hair too much burntness, bourbon comes on nice but fades too quickly, and the barrel brings a good profile. there are some hints of wheat with the soft feel and hints of banana like fruits and softness overall, and a bit of a creamy oatmeal or lactose feel. The hints of bitterness and hops play in well and not too much, but maybe a hint more would kick this up a notch.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 117 of 336
Released Autumn of 2011

Pours a wicked black color, a large tan head gives about two-three fingers of head, fades at a slow rate to leave a long lasting cap.

Smell is primarily roasted malt, picking up a bit of chocolate, not really finding any bourbon or woody aspects that might come from the barrel aging process.

Taste starts out with a burnt roasted malt front, bitter dark chocolate follows, dark fruit begins to linger in and is likely from the barreling process even though it still remains subtle, incredibly smooth and creamy mouthfeel with a slightly above normal carbonation level, picking up hints of heat so although the ABV is unknown it's probably a bit stronger than the regular Ursa Minor.

Very glad I was able to find a bottle of this at a lesser known wine & cheese shop, especially considering it has been sold out everywhere else for at least a few weeks before procuring it.

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Photo of andrewinski1
2.67/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to Ben for sharing! This bottle is number 151 of 336. Poured into a tulip. The color is nice and black with a small than head. This one looks a little thin compared to other barrel aged stouts, but I'm not knocking it for that (I'm not sure this would be an imperial stout anyway).

The aroma is full of licorice and lots of bitter dark chocolate. I get a hint of fruitiness or maybe some cherry notes.

The taste is bitter coffee, much of the positive aroma notes are muted and hard to perceive entirely. There is a slightly tart cherry finish.

The body is a little thin, with heavy carbonation that drinks like a seltzer almost.

I'm wondering if this might be headed downhill; I'm a little disappointed. The aroma was promising at least.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 151 of 336. Poured into a tulip. This pours jet black with a thin layer of dark mocha head. It settles quickly leaving some thick lace.

The aroma is jam packed full of rich bourbon right up front. Hints of chocolate and licorice in the background with dark fruits. The pallet has a nice chocolate flavor to it with some vanilla notes. A little bit of a dark cherry flavor rounding it out with good roasted malts throughout the drink.

The body is a little lighter than I would prefer and the carbonation could be toned down a bit. But it doesn't ruin the end result. Overall a nice treat here. I look forward to new beers from these guys.

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Photo of ggilman
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed two bottles at RSVP. One to rate, one to cellar.
As almost always, poured into a Sebago tulip glass.

Jet black with a small dark tan head. Minimal lacing. Smells like bourbon and vanilla, no surprise. Taste is light, mineral, with notes of coffee and alcohol. Sharp tight carbonation. Some chocolate malt in the dry grainy finish. Vanilla and bourbon flavors become more pronounced as it warms, but not overwhelming.

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Photo of BobZ
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into my Duvel Tulip, Bottle number 69 of 336 2011 release.

Appearance: Same as Ursa Minor minus the head. Rich dark brown, yields a ¼” head that recedes to a thin cap. Very, very, nice lacing. The lack of a large head is to be expected from a BA stout.

Smell: Jim Beam bourbon is the first thing you get, underneath is some roasted malt aroma.

Taste: Again, Rising Tide surprises, the bourbon is present in an oaky vanilla flavor but this doesn’t overwhelm the Ursa Minor base beer, it just complements it. Damn near perfect balance, you get the chocolatety roasted wheat flavor wrapped in a nice oaky, vanilla, bourbon. Very well done, I liked Ursa Minor, I love Polaris. Such a unique beer, I don’t get any overt weizen characteristics such as banana, but there is such a nice unique flavor to this stout that it leaves me wanting more.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, delicious. Not cloying or overly sweet in any way. Easy to drink all night.

Overall: Great offering, hope to see this again next year. I bought three bottles and gave one to a friend, now I’m starting to wish I kept it. Really impressed with this brewery and their products, in all honesty I might even prefer this beer to KBS, it’s THAT good.

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Photo of Cadebro
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to get one of these in a 22oz bottle the day before it was officially released.

A - Black with a thin, dark caramel brown head. Leaves tiny clusters of lace behind.

S - Bourbon, dark cherry and coffee. There's a sweet smell as well, perhaps vanilla.

T - Bourbon, plum and slightly smokey. Finishes sweet and a little cloying.

M - Fairly heavy body for a stout, at times almost too thick and sticky.

D - Rising Tide's Weizen Stout is one of my favorites. This bourbon aged version is very good. They balanced the aging very well, I would drink this many times except for the price tag.

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Photo of Brez07
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is Ursa Minor aged in Jim Beam barrels (which were previously used for Allagash Curiuex) for 6 months. Had three 8oz pours of this tonight at Mama's Crowbar

A: Pours a dark brown color and leaves a minimal amount of tan head. Not much retention to speak of, and no lacing

S: Some bourbon right up front, but nothing that overwhelms. Still get the nice roast and wheat from the base beer. Notes of chocolate as well

T: Composed similar to the nose, except the bourbon is much more specific to Jim Beam. There is some dark fruit presence not detected in the nose. Brief flavors of caramel, brown sugar and oak. And as odd as it sounds, there is even a small amount of fresh dill at times

M: Starts off medium bodied but finishes a little thin. Dry, roasted (almost hazelnutty) finish. Appropriate amount of carbonation

D: Very smooth, easy drinking. This was aged well to give it subtle barrel aspects. Looking forward to this in bottles

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Polaris from Rising Tide Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 100 ratings