Boysen | The Commons Brewery

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Very Good
49 Ratings

Brewed by:
The Commons Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed for the 2012 Holiday Ale Fest, this was a Imperial Belgian Porter fermented with our yeast from De Dolle Brouwers, then finished with Boysenberries in the brite tank.

Added by vkv822 on 02-19-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 |  Reviews: 11
Reviews by vkv822:
Photo of vkv822
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

on-tap @ Belmont Station.
taster glass, from notes.

"Boysen is a dark, strong, malt forward Belgian ale with dark fruits added during maturation. Chocolate notes create a foundation for the boysenberries and yeast esters to ride on."

Black, with a creamy, light tan head.

The aroma has berries upfront with a light chocolate backing.

Again, berries upfront in taste, but with a more prominent/balanced dark chocolate malt profile.

Medium+ body with mild, prickly carbonation.

The boysenberries really blend nicely with the chocolate malt character. The ABV is really noticeable, despite being so high.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
3.51/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of dirtylou
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap @ the brewery

Served in a Commons tulip - very dark, minimal head. Nicely layered beer - chocolate, berry, yeasty esters, booze. I thought the boysenberry was well played and was a nice play on the style. Would have grabbed a bottle, but this is tap only i believe. Nice stuff.

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Photo of jason_nwx
4.14/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GRG1313
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of AleHunter805
3.54/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of VashonGuy
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Not all experiments work out," my wife just said about Boysen, and that's a good starting point for talking about this beer.

It's nice looking, very dark, with a good head that fades fairly quickly. The aroma is fruity. The taste is fruity and sweet, with a medicinal finish, a bit like cough syrup. I don't have a problem with fruity beers, and the sweetness is not out of bounds. The real thing missing in this beer is complexity. There's just not much going on, besides the boysenberries. Whether this is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale or an Impy Porter (I think BSDA is the better description), the underlying beer should have some character to complement the fruit. And it doesn't, it's pretty boring.

I'm not as down on this beer as some other reviewers, as I kind of liked it, but I think it missed the mark.

Serving on tap in a tulip, at the Pine Box.

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Photo of zak333
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of More_betterness
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Rick778
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of sweemzander
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kamikazeokami
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of sclitch
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of notchucknorris
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark brown color with a thin mocha colored head that slims down to a ring on the surface pretty quickly.

S: Definitely a strange mix of things going on here. Not really picking up much of a boysenberry note to this at all. Lots of dark chocolate, belgian yeast, maybe a little wood mixed with blackberry and a touch of baking spice.

T: Again, the berry note in here is pretty lost on me. Tastes is way more along the lines of a BSDA. Some dark bread crust, dark chocolate and maybe some charred wood. On the finish, there is just a trace of berry jam, almost like if you burnt a piece of toast and then tried to cover up the char with a ton of jam. Definitely way more dry than I was expecting. Not a bad beer by any means, but it is a peculiar mix of things in here and the result is a little dull.

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Photo of mactrail
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich and malty with an excellent berry flavor. I'd call this a fruit flavored beer rather than any sort of Belgian style. There is a little of the dry yeasty finish, but not much Belgian flavor. Color is a murky purply brown.

It's very malty but not overly sweet. Quite sippable and strong, but the alcohol doesn't detract from the pleasure. An interesting example of the really big fruit brew. from the 750 capped (thank you) bottle purchased at New Seasons Market in Portland.

 480 characters

Photo of Kopfschuss
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

Photo of cherche
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: pretty, big head, good retention, some lacing
S: fruity roasted malts
T: on par with the smell, very fruity back end
M: right where it should be for this beer, can't believe the ABV is right
O: very good dark fruity beer. Glad I tried it for sure

 250 characters

Photo of shook81
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Dicers
3.37/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Greels
2.75/5  rDev -26.9%

Photo of kemoarps
3.19/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

Pours much darker than I'd expected with a nearly black opaque body topped by a soft yet massive head that I swear has a purplish tinge to the tan colour, but that could also be my imagination.

Nose right off the bat reminds me though that this is not some old ale or barleywine as the fruit is the first distinct flavour to escape its carbonated prison. Initial impressions are almost more cherry medicine than true berry but after this first wave the follow up is more dedicated to the berry brigade. Under this is a sturdy body of grains and yeast

Flavour gives much of its canvas up this secondary component as it starts out a kind of nondescript grainy maltiness with hints at the finish of alcohol and I guess there's a brief flash of fruitful sweetness that jumps through the headlights before disappearing again into the shadows.
As it warms, the alcohol and slight nondescript sweetness combine not to bring forth the flavours hidden in the fridgid initial invitation, but to overwhelm the tongue and underwhelm the drinker. There's some tobacco and leather hidden, and it actually reminds me of some disappointing old ales I've had moreso than any sort of Farmhouse and any nod to boysenberries is perfunctory at best.

The plentiful carbonation keeps it bright and dancing and the rest of the body between the bubbles is quite luxuriant and satiny. Definitely the high point for me.

All in all this is a big miss for me. My parents gave me a hard time about picking up a fruit beer but I defended my choice hoping the boysenberries would balance with blah blah blah (I love berries. Boysenberries are on the upper half of my list of choice berries). There's just not much there for me to enjoy. Oh well. Live and learn.

 1,736 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
2.4/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pour is really dark almost black and opaque with a light tan head. Nose has a faint grain, a bit of sweet malt, some stale grain, a slight plastic caramel aroma, and faint touch of berry. Flavor is overly sweet and malty, candied sugars and stale grains, light farmhouse yeast and some dark fig and berry in the finish but tastes sugary. Full bodied with high carb.

 368 characters

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Boysen from The Commons Brewery
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 49 ratings