Barn Owl Blend No. 1 | Bellwoods Brewery

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39 Ratings

Brewed by:
Bellwoods Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Blend No.1 — barrel-aged 12-18 months with ginger, apricot, and cranberry — is a strangely harmonious combination of flavours that work together seamlessly, in a style that almost lends itself more to cocktails than beer. Aromatics of candied apricot, ginger, warming spices and soft brett, give way to moderate acidity balanced by bright, juicy flavours that reference the tart cranberries. Great medium body and an off-dry finish.

Added by TheSevenDuffs on 05-07-2015

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 39 |  Reviews: 13
Reviews by goalie35:
Photo of goalie35
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More User Reviews:
Photo of JonnyBeers
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of zachthelaxer93
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Sammy
3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pleasant sour aroma, ginger in the background, fruit in the foreground fortunately. Cloudy yellow with lasting white head and plesant lace. Booze in the finish. Apricot taste, cranberry not tasted but is lkely assisting tartness. Ginger rounds off the sourness, we would have liked for that to be miniized, perhaps to none at all.

 330 characters

Photo of Bugs318
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Disclaimer: though a huge fan of Bellwoods, of sours, of fruited sours, I am not a huge fan of ginger in beer unless very subtle, and don't find it a fruit complement. I was told it is very muted, so I gave it a shot.

A: A very attractive hazy orange colour, with a slight, audible, fizzy white head of no retention save for a ring at the edge that lasts. No lacing to speak of.

S: Mostly tart cranberries up front, but as it opens up traces of ginger and a bit more apricot come forward. A very pleasing nose, almost as if of fermenting cranberry skins with the addition of the other notes. There is a touch of wood, but for such length in barrel, it isn't overly present.

T: Here's where my disappointment kicks in. I'll begin with the disclaimer that I usually don't like ginger in beers and I was told it is muted here. And it is, but... I find it doesn't complement the fruit flavours. Regardless, it starts with apricot sweetness before transitioning towards a tart cranberry finish, both layers coupled with ginger while it is the ginger that lingers (alongside a touch of oaky and funky qualities). There is a noteworthy complexity and taste evolution here, but the flavours fight each other and the ginger is anything but slight.

M: Great spritzy carbonation and a rather light body, without any real semblance of the booze. There is a touch of ethanol on the linger, but it's fine.

O: I feel like without the ginger, this could border on greatness, but lags due to competing rather than complementary notes. I smelled it and thought I'd be pleasantly surprised, but wished for a fruit flavour resembling that nose rather than a ginger flavour but slightly echoing the strengths of the bouquet.

 1,718 characters

Photo of Rutager
3.84/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured an orangey color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light ginger and apricot notes with dry Brett notes and light tart notes are also perceptible. Taste is a well-balanced mix between some dry Brett notes with some tart notes and some ginger and apricot notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. I really enjoyed the balance between the different flavors of this beer.

 432 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of papat444
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to Jrenihan for this beer ot of the blue.

Pours a lazy gold color, sourness isn't mouthpuckering, has a certain smooth edge and is a bit dry as well. Very excellent.

 177 characters

Photo of liamt07
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Whatup14
3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Photo of byronic
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Ultrarunner100
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of BakaGaijin
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jrenihan
4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A Brett ale with apricot and cranberry sounded very good - but I was very apprehensive about the ginger. While I like ginger a lot in food, I find it has a tendency to dominate beers when it is included and not work very well.

Luckily, the ginger in Barn Owl is not overbearing. I would probably prefer if it was not there, but the base beer, apricot and cranberry all work very well together. The apricot and cranberry compliment each other very well, both very prominent, the beer is moderately sour and the Brett provides a slightly dry finish that works well. A bit of oak as well. The ginger is really the difficult part for me- I actually vary between finding it nice and finding it to be too much.

Overall, very enjoyable. Not sure how much the series is going to vary, but this is a very good start.

 811 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of andrenaline
4.19/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The celebrations continue... Another treat courtesy of Pino!
A - pours a hazy peach colour, finger of head with little retention or lacing.
S - sour fruit, barnyard funk, apricot and peach scents, hints of musty grass.
T - nice and tart off the top, the ginger is subtle as is the cranberry, the apricots definitely have the stronger presence, nice sour apple flavors, lingering grassy notes and ginger comes through again.
M - nice a light, loads of carbonation, ABV is impossible to detect, super smooth.
O - a damn fine specimen and super glad to have gotten the opportunity to try it. Loads of flavor and a must try for any fan of sours.

 643 characters

Photo of Jerboat
4.89/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Kmat10
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Corson
3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of yasky
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of wordemupg
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into tulip 15/11/15, cheers liamt07 for sending the bottle my way

A bright golden orange with a slight haze, looks very lively at first with bubbles everywhere but calms down quickly, large and loose noisy foams gone quickly leaving no lace

S lots of brett and ginger, some apricot and peaches, not much cranberry, maybe a little over-ripe strawberry, has some ginger ale sweetness working for it, just a hint of leather as it warms, everything just leaps out of the glass, smells very strong and I'm loving the nose

T more of a ginger ale flavor, I'm picking up on more cranberry and less stone fruit, picking up on a little wet wood I didn't find on the nose, tastes solid but the nose has a slight edge

M medium bodied, fluffs up and gets a little airy but not foamy, fairly slick in the mouth, a little ginger spice on the finish

O this one has a interesting mix of stuff going on that all work well together, nothing overwhelms and everything compliments each other, the 8.5% doesn't come up at any point either

Yet another brew I want more of and will never see again, Bellwoods just keeps nailing everything they brew, these guys are giving Driftwood some competition for my favorite Canadian brewery

 1,245 characters

Photo of yancot
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of biegaman
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Blend #1 of Barn Owl doesn't leave much room for improvement. Spoiler alert: it's incredible. And for something that spent more than a year in musty barrels with festering fruits and wild bacteria it looks pretty darn good. This near-glowing orange beer is clean and full of lively carbonation.

Like anything sour and barrel-aged this has a stunning range of musty reeks and sour stenches - all of which are A. MA. ZING. Drinking Barn Owl is like touring a perfume factory and, surprisingly, all three of its star ingredients (ginger, apricot, cranberry) can be clearly, separately sensed and smelled.

The taste is so good it's worth trying to memorize. It's a delicious, layered, complex combination of wild berries and stone fruits, chased by a refreshing bacterial tartness. Have a cold? Skip that boring cup of tea and switch to Barn Owl. Each sip concludes with a pinching sting of ginger.

Let's recap: tart berries, sweet orchard fruit, zesty ginger, dry grain - name the texture and this has got it! Astonishingly, despite the high alcohol (8.5%), the spiciness and all the puckering sourness, this is a highly drinkable ale that's on par with many fruity summertime quenchers.

I was asked the other day which was my favourite Ontario microbrewery. I didn't have to think about it: Bellwoods. I'm certainly not a fan of having to travel downtown, sometimes waiting hours and typically paying an arm and a leg, but facts are facts - no one else produces such consistently high-quality and distinct offerings. Bellwoods may be the only Ontario brewery able to compete on the world-stage.

...Or at least compare to their neighbours to the south. Hell, I've been to Cascade, Bruery and Russian River and I'd put Barn Owl up against any sour from Oregon, California, or anywhere else in the United States for that matter. Finishing the glass almost left tears in my eyes - it's *that* special.

 1,904 characters

Photo of hunterjames
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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Barn Owl Blend No. 1 from Bellwoods Brewery
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 39 ratings