Boysen | The Commons Brewery

Liked This Beer
3.76 w/ 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 |  Reviews: 11
Photo of sweemzander
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 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.

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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 westcoastbeerlvr
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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 81tillinfinity
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 floyd_pugman
2.85/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours dark with a creamy head. Nose is predominantly chocolate, sweet boysenberry, and bread. Palate starts with boysenberry and moves quickly to bittersweet chocolate, with a cough syrup finish. Lingering aftertaste of boysenberry cough syrup and belgian yeast. Hardly a drain pour, but if deciding whether to buy, I'd pass.

 330 characters

Photo of NickThePyro
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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 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.

 814 characters

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.

 865 characters

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

Photo of CUBeerBuff
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Mages64
4.62/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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


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Photo of nickfl
2.75/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is an interesting and unique beer, but not in a good way. The appearance is pleasant enough, dark with a good head. The aroma is also fine, one dimensional with strong, but bland fruit, but not offensive. It is only when you taste it that you realize you have made a grave mistake. There is nothing but fruit here and while huge loads of fruit character can be great in certain beers, when executed properly, this is just not right. The berries are cloying, syrupy sweet and dull, lacking in any acidity (or anything else for that matter) that would balance or make the fruit pop. It would make a better berry soda than beer and it would still be an awful soda, it is like drinking artisinal, locally made boysenberry cough syrup. To be clear, this seems more like a failure of vision than a failure of execution; I think they made exactly what they intended, its just something that never should have been made.

 924 characters

Photo of PZBREW
4.79/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nailed it. Fruit, beer and yeasts are very good. All around veey good.

70 characters

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

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

Photo of Texasfan549
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

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Boysen from The Commons Brewery
Beer rating: 57.1% out of 100 with 49 ratings
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