Spring 2012 Bière De Mars
Almanac Beer Co.

Spring 2012 Bière De MarsSpring 2012 Bière De Mars
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French Bière de Garde
3.64 | pDev: 10.44%
Almanac Beer Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Spring 2012 Bière De MarsSpring 2012 Bière De Mars
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 49
Photo of Tommo
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is an old bottle i guess, however it is not great. Sweet, with fennel flavor and a medium body. Overall this is not what i expect from almanac, and more over the fennel brings very little to the table

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Photo of kojevergas
2.55/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

23 IBU. Spring seasonal. Biere De Mars. Ale Brewed with Fennel. Limited seasonal release March 2012. 06891. Dark Belgian candi sugar is added. Reviewed live. Acquired at a local SoCal beer store within the last month; I guess bottles of this have sat out. Expectations are average. 7% ABV confirmed.

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with pull-slip foil covering a generic pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Label advises to use a tulip instead of a pint glass; sorry, Almanac - all I have is a pint glass. I would care more if the 5 or so other beers I'd had from them were really impressive, but that wasn't the case.

Served cold. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a three finger beige colour head of decent smooth cream, decent thickness, and pretty good (~4 minute) retention for the highish ABV. Body colour is a rather pale copper. Translucent and transparent. Not particularly vibrant. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. It's typical yet underwhelming for the style.

Sm: Generic bland floral hops. Pale malts. Pleasant biscuity yeasty notes. Honey. Clove. Light candi sugar. Crystal malt. A touch of spice. I don't get any of the plum fruit, figs, or anise allaged by the label. A very light aroma that doesn't bring much to the table. It's pleasant, but timid. Sort of sells itself short. No alcohol is detectable. Maybe a bit of apple? It's a dry aroma.

T: Pleasant juicy apple and pale malts are the first thing I get. Timid bland floral hopping. Crystal malt. A light hint of candi sugar. No plum, no fig, no anise. No yeast character or alcohol comes through. It's rather simple, to its detriment. Decently balanced. There's not a whole lot of flavour here, although it does strengthen right on the finish, where a bit of malty sweetness arises and bolsters it a bit. Too bitter throughout, and especially on the climax. Lacks complexity or subtlety.

Mf: Slightly acidic. Way too dry for the style, preventing it from being refreshing. Uneven. A bit too coarse. Nicely wet. Palate presence is awful; hardly any flavour impacts. Lacks the full body it requires. Carbonation is a bit overdone. Not soft enough.

Dr: Drinkable but forgettable. A pedestrian biere de mars from Almanac. This brewery is largely unimpressive so far. I definitely wouldn't bother with this again. I wouldn't recommend it to friends, either. It's not that it's really that bad - it isn't. It's just so boring and bland. So much more can be done with this style. I'd pass on this one. Such mediocre beers oughtn't be supported. Why brew this?


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Photo of macrosmatic
3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to eyebereej for this one! Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into CCB pint glass.

A: Mostly clear, copper to brown with a 1 1/2 finger white head and medium visible carbonation.

S: Pilsner malt, caramel sweetness, and just a bit of anise in the background.

T: Caramel malts, pilsner malts, and a bit of spicy attenuation, maybe from the fennel? Black licorice flavor is noticeable as well, but doesn't overtake the rest of the beer. Then a dry finish that almost puckers the mouth.

M: Lighter body, a good amount of carbonation sensation, and no alcohol presence.

O: This is pretty tasty, and a nice surprise for a beer I didn't know existed before. It doesn't blow me away or anything, but I would drink another if I found it on tap somewhere.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very clear light amber body with a white sudsy head that dissipates to a ring of pancake bubbles and leaves copious, thick sticky lacing.

Smells of caramel/toast malt and sweet brown sugar. A fennel note is there (light anise), but it is dominated by the malt.

Tastes of caramel/toasted malt with a metallic coppery/cola note, and fairly sweet. I can taste a bit of fennel/celery, but it is subtle--I get a little anise in the finish. Tastes moderately hoppy: it has a slightly bitter and grassy/noble hop finish that is long and a little tongue numbing after 2/3 of a glass. The fennel and the hops are interacting in the finish.

The body is medium and the malt sugar makes it seem heavier. Carbonation is moderate, just enough to give it a slightly creamy mouthfeel.

The Almanac seasonals always seem to pack a little more punch than the ABV level says, and this is the case here. Overall, this is a pretty malt forward, sweet bière de garde that is somewhat balanced by fennel and hops. As it warms up and I approach the bottom of the glass, the fennel flavor becomes more evident, but it is still too sweet malt dominated. I confess I am not much a fan of sweet malt beers, yet this has enough complexity to make it an interesting go. Still, it seems almost bordering on a barleywine to me, and maybe that is alright for some bières de garde (can't say I have had many). But I would like this better if it weren't quite as sweet as it is, and then maybe the fennel flavor would be a little more accessible.

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Photo of pkalix
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

so interesting.... made with fennel(?).
pours a golden color with a golden(?) tinted creamy head. used to a white or tan head, but dont recall a golden tinted head. tiny carbonation bubbles rise from the 'recommended' tulip glass ( i always wanted to try pouring it into two different type glasses to see how much of a difference it actually makes) and a slight haziness from the sediment at the bottom. loose, wet lacing down the sides with each draw....
i'm getting a saisson kind of smell from the glass with some pepper but the taste is more malty and their website says it's a candi sugar taste i should be expecting? like belgian ales? it's a little bitter around the sides of the tongue, and the sweetness in the middle reminds me how much i like the doppelbocks.adding the sediment at the end on the 2nd pour of the large bomber-sized bottle adds some different, yeasty bitterness.
overall, it's a good product and i would like to try more from this brewery. it's still the standard microbrewery-calling-itself-craftbeer and it's not all that refined, but it's a decent product. it is a beautiful looking beer and pours well but the taste is just kind of standard fare.

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Photo of popery
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a glowy dark orange, copper-ish. Small to medium head, white. Small bubbles, decent lacing.

The spicing is mild but noticeable, which is almost nice, but it ends up a bit muddled. There's a vegetal aroma on top of a nice bready-caramel malt flavor. Mild toastiness.

The taste is mostly sweet malt with some more muddled spice in the mix. It just ends up more muted than subtle and doesn't really add complexity in a good way. Some earthy yeast. The finish is mildly acrid with a little booziness.

Full mouthfeel. Nice but verges on sticky.

It's a fine beer but nothing exciting, and I imagine it sounded more interesting in the planning stages than it turned out. It's just kinda sweet with a muddy mix of spice and yeast notes. And it's overpriced.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed this so much more from a bottle, fresh, than on tap. So much so that I was surprised I had previously reviewed it because it was such a contrast. Could it have been a different beer? Or had the scant few months changed the character so much as to … not offend but disappoint my (not so) delicate palate?

This poured the color of a reddish grapefruit, with a ruby red hue capped by some foam.

The aroma is pleasing-ish, with a nice floral note. I get something here—maybe cucumber blossoms? Smells intriguing and pleasant, inviting even.

Flavor, not so much. It starts off with some harsh notes but as it warms and opens up the harshness drowns out everything else. Fennel? Definitely fennel seeds, roasted, and some coriander. There’s a defining bitterness and a dry finish with some resin. I hate to say it but this just doesn’t come together for me at the end. Smelled great but the flavor didn’t deliver on this one.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to stupac2 for this bottle...

A: Pours a clear gold with a massive pure white head. The foam takes forever to settle, and there is an insane amount of lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is mainly sweet malt, yeast, fennel, and light citrus. Biere de Garde isn't exactly my favorite style, but who can resist a beer brewed with fennel? It smells weird, but in a good way.

T: The flavors pretty much follow the nose. It's sweet, yeasty, and kinda peppery right up front. The fennel ads a layer of spice and funk to this beer that I enjoy. In the middle, it gets sweeter, with soaked bread and light caramel. The finish is a big mix of all of the above mentioned flavors. Yeast, citrus, pepper, bread, caramel, fennel, and malt.

M: It starts out sweet, coats the palate, gets fennel-y, and then finishes kind of dry.

O: Weird beer that I'm happy to have tried, but it's not really something I'd want to drink on the regular. I thought it more interesting than good.

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Photo of mjtiernan
4.22/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Mike Sardina for sending me this bottle!

750 ml bottle poured into an oversized stemmed tulip. Bottle #09428 March 2012.

A: Poured smooth with a hazy copper body and a nice creamy one-finger head. Tons of lacing. I don’t usually give appearance points for packaging, but this is one of the most tasteful and appealing labels I’ve ever seen. Love it.

S: Really nice and complex. Some funky hay and grain, caramel and dark fruit, clove and a hint of anise. If you really take it in, you start to get a little soapy perfume but nothing that’s a turn-off. Very inviting. As it warmed up, more of the caramel aroma came through.

T: Many layers to the flavor. The start has some floral perfume that is reminiscent of a pilsner (saaz hops?), then it transitions to a dose of caramel and grain, and finishes with a complex bitter spiciness. Each taste does a wonderful job of showcasing the ingredients from start to finish. There isn’t much that’s hidden.

M: Body is medium, texture starts creamy and then ends on the dry side. Carbonation is soft. Drinkability is moderate...the alcohol is very well hidden but its full-flavors prevent you from plowing through it... and that's just fine.

O: A wonderfully unique beer and I’m grateful that I got to try it. I know it’s a spring beer, but I can easily see myself pairing it with numerous fall ingredients including sausage, apples and smoked cheeses. I’m glad I have a second bottle.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The pour is a clear golden color with a tall white head. The fennel is quite pronounced. Sweet maltiness, some bread, yeast, and citrus peel. Maybe a little bit of banana and pepper. The flavor is far too bitter for my liking. Biscuit malt, a light pepper note, some citrus peel, and yeast. Very dry on the finish.

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Photo of ccrida
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle number 04421, March 2013. Fancy looking label, lots of text, cool imagery of tree / roots/ sky, nice cool, foil wrapped, the whole package. Let's see if it performs as well.

Smell is a little sweet, and vegetable, celery stalk (or as is apparently the case here, anise).

Taste is interesting. The base biere de mars is there, nice malty, clean. The bitterness is firm. The fennel really comes through, not so much pure anise, more the sweeter part of the bulb, giving it an unusual tang and aftertaste. Some of that is surely the esters as well.

Mouthfeel is dry, decent carbonation, medium bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good. It's an interesting, and enjoyably flavored brew. It's fairly robust though, and not something I find myself drinking with any speed. Glad I gave it ago though, the packaging lured me in, but the creative recipe and execution delivered. The impressive use of the anise is what impressed me enough to bump the whole thing up overall, I would have never thought to add that in a BdG....

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Photo of XicanoBeerRun
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a great golden (not yellow) color resembling apple juice. White bubbles linger on the surface. I liked the appearance.

Smelled like mango, tropical fruit, boozy, sweet cotton candy. Tasted sweet, slightly metallic (iron?), bitter like leafy greens or perhaps the bitterness that comes from the white skin of citrus fruit. I did not pick up on the fennel. Great carbonation.

This is their Spring 2012 release, and I bought two bottles in May. I had one bottle when purchased and I remember enjoying it much more. Now, two and a half months after purchase, I think it has faded. I should have had this shortly after purchase. I did not care for the bitterness or metallic taste, but it was still a good beer.

I’ll have another if it’s fresh.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Clear, deep apple juice with bright orange highlights. Off-white head has excellent lace and great retention.

S - Semi-sweet, green plant stems, definitely get a touch of the fennel, lime, booze, and lemon basil.

T - Great opening, but takes an unusual twist through the center before a refreshing finish. Soft, smooth caramel malts up front with gingerbread and biscuits. The flavor profile drops off in the center with a spike of lime, spicy ginger and anise. Fresh fennel brings up the backend and lingers deep through the aftertaste. The finish blends through the opening as you continue to drink the beer, balancing things out after about a quarter of the way through the bottle. The net effect left our tasting group split, but I loved it.

M - Medium body to start, but gives way to a light tangy finish.

O - Not the best of the Almanac brews, but their outstanding quality that might not be saying much. The profile is unique and probably not for everyone, but for the adventurous connoisseur it's worth a try.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.16/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is very mild and is of malt, grain, citrus zest, and spice. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer with some very mild aromas and flavors. Not a fan.

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Photo of impending
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


750ml into a tulip. Pours a slightly hazed copper gold, orangish green tinged head is ok as is the lacing.

Pleasantly sweet aroma that is all high notes, unnamed fruits and a scattering of mixed herbs, slightly rustic.

Taste has none of the sweetness the aroma suggested. Long lasting dry grassy bitterness hangs on for considerable length. The bitter sits in for dirt floor, touch of bark. Not much in the way of anise which disappoints as it was explicitly promised but certainly herbal. Light to medium bodied smooth mouthfeel. Nice evolution of flavor within a narrow range.

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Photo of mactrail
3.66/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice progression of flavors from malty sweet to bitter yeast to fruit to edgy darkness. I would never guess this has fennel, which is a good thing to me, but lots of herbal flavors. A touch of the "meaty" flavor I always hope for in a Bière de Mars. The alcohol and flavor reminds me of a strong golden ale.

Lovely sudsy pour in the Duvel tulip, with a warm amber color and lots of lacing along the glass. Not so much on aroma. A lighter body. Pleasantly bitter, tangy, and refreshing. Some resiny flavors. With only 23 IBU listed, the bitterness must be due to the Belgian yeast. Quite bitter aftertaste.

Tasty and interesting beer, but a ridiculous price. Only place I saw this was BevMo in San Diego, which I normally try never to patronize.

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Photo of OldMar
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium golden rusty orange color. Neutral beery smell -- maybe a little sweet. First sip is bitter. If I didn't know better I might call it an IPA. Long finish. Green herbs and grass, but if there is fennel in there, it is very subtle. Bright effervescence. Second pour had yeast from the bottom of the bottle, clumped (oops), which added body and heft -- I actually liked the last pour the best. It seemed better balanced.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear golden-orange color with a finger of frothy slightly off-white head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some thick lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of Belgian yeast esters, candi sugar, anise, caramelized malts, with a touch of bread and citrus.

T - Starts off with some sweet caramelized malts with some candi sugar and a bit of fruity Belgian yeast esters. Through the middle, a bit of dark fruit comes through alongside some anise and some farmhouse flavors. The finish is a mix of anise, plum, a bit of bready and caramelized malts, and some Belgian yeast flavors.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry and lightly spicy finish.

D - Very drinkable. The plum and anise flavors are a nice touch on top of the Bière De Garde base. They add some nice complexity.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is probably my least favorite Almanac beer so far. Not so much because it isn't well made, but possibly because this interpretation of the style just doesn't do it for me. It has the toasted tones, yes. Malts, sure. But it just isn't my thing. Will all the Belgian styles Almanac has done in the past with all the locally sourced fruits added in, I guess I just want to see more of that. Either way, this is a tough style to pull off well, and I think they did a pretty good job on this one.

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Photo of brotherloco
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottle. Bottle #06484. Served in a tulip.

Pours a hazy deep amber with a bit over two fingers of beige colored foam. Sticks around for a short while. Moderate bits of lacing left behind.

Aroma of moderately funky Belgian yeast, Belgian candi sugar, sweet caramel malt, mild dark fruit, lots of earthy grassy herbs including licorice from the fennel and a touch of onion. No alcohol detected.

Flavor is really earthy. Malt sweetness starts things out, but grassy herb-like flavors quickly join in. Fairly pronounced bitterness blossoms through the finish and aftertaste. Anise notes from the fennel definitely emerge through the finish, which dries up considerably. Alcohol very nicely buried. Flavor is a nice upgrade from the aroma, especially as it warms up.

Solidly medium in body and a touch below medium in natural, soft carbonation. Dry finish is nice but overall feel is just a tiny bit thick.

Another enjoyable and unique beer from Almanac.

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Spring 2012 Bière De Mars from Almanac Beer Co.
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 49 ratings