Pluto - Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Pluto - Belgian Style Golden Strong AlePluto - Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale
Liked This Beer
4.25 w/ 37 ratings
Pluto - Belgian Style Golden Strong AlePluto - Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Named after the ruler of the underworld, PLUTO was re-classified as a non-planet in AUG 2006. Here we celebrate our “Fallen Planet” by creating a Belgian-style Golden Strong Ale, aged in French oak Chardonnay barrels with Brettanomyces. Appropriately, the devil’s in the details.

35 IBU

Added by AKBelgianBeast on 08-30-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 37 |  Reviews: 25
Photo of unclekeith
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Hotrod88
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
4.25/5  rDev 0%

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of DucksFan16
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Ryan1423
5/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks again, Bobby.

Pours a pale yellow color with a white head. A hint of lemon and citrus peel. Maybe some melon and other tart fruits. A nice fruity flavor and some excellent tartness. There’s a little grassy funkiness to it. Good melon and apple and lemon notes. Really nice. Light bodied with high carbonation.

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Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of MasterSki
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks Frank! Served in a Great North Brewers Guild tulip.

A - Slight gusher. Pours with a finger-plus of white foam that settles to a thin cap and thicker collar, with splotches of yeast. Lightly hazed golden straw body with tons of suspended sediment visible.

S - Brett, pineapple and tropical fruits, faint white wine, spicy oak, Belgian yeast, stone fruits, musty saison-like notes, and sweet pilsner malt backbone. Reminds me of better batches of Fantôme but with oak character. As it warms up there's maybe the faintest hint of alcohol, but it's not unexpected for a nearly 9% brew.

T - Taste is a nice mix of oak, tart green apples, light lemon, musty barn, stone fruits, vinous notes, some grassy character. It's quite good, and probably more of a 4.25.

M - Very dry and tannic, medium body, no obvious alcohol, slightly gritty carbonation but not harsh or lip-burning. Good for a Belgian Pale but could be a little spritzier as an American Wild Ale.

D - This stuff was very easy to drink. I wish they could make it again, but with Gabe gone that seems unlikely. I could drink this one all night, as it has some of the best wild ale flavors but none of the harsh acetobacter that other American brews are plagued with.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to AmericanBrew for sharing this bottle. Always excited to try a new beer from Midnight Sun. This is one I didn't think I would get to try.

The beer pours a yellow color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the wheat and grassy hops, with some pepper mixed in. I also surprisingly get some licorice in the aroma which goes very well with the other aromas.

The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of wheat and sugar, with some grass, oranges and lemons. The alcohol is very well hidden. I also get a little bit of brett character, but it is fairly faint.

Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. A very nice Belgian Strong Ale.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Summer sunshine yellowish gold with a light sprinkling of fine yeast and Champagnesque carbonaton. The pillowy crown is brightest white and doesn't have the world's greatest surface topography. Small sheets of sea foam lace look good enough. Barrel-aging and bottle-conditioning can lead to just about anything where appearance is concerned.

The aroma is both powerful and wonderfully complex. The beer smells farmhouse funky, splendidly spicy and ripe golden fruity. Thankfully, Brettanomyces doesn't obliterate all else. Unfortunately, whatever 'French oak Chardonnay barrel' notes might have been present aren't appreciated.

Pluto tastes like its brewing manifest says it will. Classification is a toughie. The brewery calls it a Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale. Saison works. As does Brett-accented BSPA. Whatever it is, Pluto is delicous beer of the sort that Midnight Sun is known for. These guys are crazy talented.

Pilsner malt contributes little flavor and only a modest amount of background sweetness. Styrian Goldings and Saaz hops add a pleasing bitterness (35 IBUs at start), as well as a lovely lemongrassiness. The heavy lifting, however, is done by the Brettanomyces and Belgian yeast.

Clove, cardamom and white pepper are perfectly complemented by a horse blanket funk that is especially well-mannered. Buttery pears and tangy apples add a delicious golden fruitiness. Oak-soaked Chardonnay still isn't rampant, but there's a definite white grape quality that contributes to overall complexity. The beer also has a gentle acidity that is nowhere near the raging reflux category.

The second pour adds yeasty blurriness and the third adds yeasty murkiness. Sorry, but that alone is worth a good score. Besides, the crown does not quit and lace continues to stick. If only the mouthfeel had been able to hang in there. It's a little bit light and the carbonation started out quasi-fizzy. Both have improved from the first few ounces.

Pluto was an ambitious undertaking, though that's nothing new for Midnight Sun Brewing. This bomber has held up remarkably well (mouthfeel excepted) and is a complex treat for anyone who loves BSPAs, tripels, saisons and wild ales. Planet or no planet... Pluto is out of this world. Thanks sprucetip.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.61/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle courtesy of alaskajoe - many thanks to a great trader. I've been sitting on this one for a little while now, letting the Brett character mature a little, as I know I'll never be able to try this one again. Poured in to a cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden body, or rather a gorgeously transparent golden body hazed by both a substantial amount of suspended yeast but also an absolute flurry of effervescence. The combination of the two together actually produces eddies and currents inside the body of this beer - it's actually turbulent, with swirls of yeast being lifted and tossed up, up, up before hitting the roof of the foamy head and being dispersed, deflected back down. The head is absolutely phenomenal, with the most notable aspect being that it does the whole "carbon snake" thing. That is, I poured the beer, stopping the head about a centimeter below the rim of the glass ... and it grew not only up to the rim up the glass, but then gradually proceeded to grow for an additional five minutes, maintaining the shape of the glass and growing like a giant Whitesnake a full finger above the rim before the edges slowly collapsed in to a mesa-like shape. It's immaculately creamy, fluffy, meringue-like in every sense of the word, with amazing retention and the ability to impart huge chunks and flecks and streams and stalactites and curtains of three-dimensional lace. Exceptional.

Aroma: Slightly muted, or at least less complex than the taste is. What is noticeable both from the initial pour (46 degrees or so) to room temperature (68 where I am) is the strongly acidic and vinous wine note, rich with light fruit sugars and oak. The Brett is marvelous though also muted, contributing a musty, rich, and earthy layer of heartiness. The underlying beer here is a bit of an afterthought, which is a disappointment - regardless of the quality of the add-ons, I do like to experience the beer in my beer, though here I get only a faint, pale honey sweetness. So a slight knock there.

Taste: Exceptionally balanced and quite complex. First, the base beer. Crisp Candi sugar is definitely present, as are a number of pale, simple Pilsner and more biscuity malts, particularly in the finish. Belgian yeast overtones - perfectly ripe bananas, cloves, and white pepper - compliment the Brett notes fantastically. These occupy the finish of the beer as well, and are characterized predominantly by a a medicinal phenolic presence and a moderate amount of farmhouse funk, though never before have I enjoyed that note as much as I'm enjoying it in this package. The predominant note upfront, however - as well as a contributing player throughout - is the slightly acidic, moderately vinous, and green estery quality contributed by the Chardonnay. These barrels must have been damn fresh, and they've leached quite a bit of wine and wine-like tannins and woody oak notes in to this beer, lending an airy fruity crispness and a that both fills in the gaps as well as accentuates the aforementioned notes. This one runs the gamut from crisp and light to rich and creamy, from fruity to robust to sweet to spicy. It's just an exceptionally well-rounded, intricate, and well-crafted flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: One of the softest and smoothest beers I've ever had the pleasure of trying. The huge showing of agitating effervescence that was evident in the appearance is so well-integrated in to the light, crisp body so as to render the mouthfeel on this one precisely in to precisely what you want from a Belgian - instant evaporation when it hits the tongue, resulting in an evenly whipped froth that fills your whole mouth. Even as the carbonation slowly, slowly begins to die down (and as it drops from a perfect 5.0 to a mere, lowly 4.5) and it loses *some* of its lift, it maintains its internal crispness and its milky, creamy evenness.

Drinkability: This is a marvelous beer. It's in fact one of the best beers I've ever had. At 8.7% abv, it's also far less alcoholic than many of the other "best beers I've ever had," and a whole bottle later I'm only mildly, pleasantly, and - indeed, given how great this beer is - ecstatically buzzed. Sure, there are a few knocks here, but I almost had to look for flaws in this beer at many points - very little jumped out at me. What pains me most is that I'll likely never be able to try this one again. Trade for now, if you can.

*UPDATE, next morning:* As I think about it a little more, I'm seeing a lot of similarities between this brew and the other truly amazing brew I've had thus far in 2010, Russian River's temptation. This one obviously isn't nearly as sour (if at all), and the only tartness here is contributed by the acidity and fruity notes of the wine. But they're both light, crisp, fruity golden ales with a mild Brett-qua-Brett addition, and they're both fantastic.

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Photo of mikey711
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by fbm115 recently. Thanks Steve

A: Huge fluffy white head that looks like soap bubbles. The beer itself is golden but very cloudy. Lacing is decent and the head retention is very good.

S: I am surprised that this is listed as a Strong Pale because I was under the impression that it was a wild and i felt the brett was a pretty present note. Some rubber, some hay, some dirt, very barnyard. Also some mild cherry notes with some sweet belgian candied sugar

T: Very vinous. SOme nice white grape notes. Very dry with some sweet champagne notes and some wood oakiness. It reminded me of a blend of chardonnay and champagne.

M: Very very dry and acidic. There was no booze but it was very dry.

D: A glass or two is very nice but more than that I think would be too much

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Photo of sprucetip
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Golden, big loitering white head, active, yeast chunks, thick lacing. SMELL sweet tart candy leads, some mild bretty funk, fruity (bitter apple, strawberries, cherries), vaguely malty, bit of booze. Gets better throughout. TASTE Dryly tart, and bit of bret funk up front. Some sweet tart candy. Belgian yeast character increases during the sample. Malty backbone emerges in the middle but stays in the shadows, and the oak and wine from the barrel just barely discernable, adding some delicate complexity. Faint bitterness in the finish dovetails nicely with the ohter influences. The initial bite is incongruent with the smoothness of the rest of the experience. FEEL medium fiz and body, quite dry, modest warming, clean finish. Doesn't feel as big as it is. OVERALL Goes down easily. Very impressive appearance. Not innately attracted to the tartness, but learning to appreciate. The balancing of the many diverse inputs is impressive.

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Photo of rye726
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light golden straw with a silky white head. Excellent lacing and retention.

Nose has tart citrusy fruits, Brett, chardonnay, oak, candy malts and a touch of funk.

Taste is some what dull compared to the nose. Mostly caramel malt and tropical fruits, subtle white wine grapes, a mellow farmyard funk and some peppery yeast. The wild yeast and wine barrels just don't have the same potency they did in the aroma.

Medium body is crisp and refreshing. Drinks very nice for a beer of this size. Comes off a bit thick through the finish.

Perhaps some more age would add complexity and depth.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 received in another epic trade with AKBelgianBeast.. Frank is a "beer trader's" trader... I doubt I have the ammo, yet the beast hits me with the goods.

Shared this bottle with the Boise crew... and it was pretty well received.. Poured into my small La Trappe glass.

Slightly hazed lite golden brew.. good head and lace .... even hours after the bottle was first cracked.

Nose is pale malts with a little grainy essence.. lightly funky and pretty damn oakey.. green apples and lite vinous notes... a dusty brett note becomes alot more apparent at room temperature..

Flavor is more oakey than expected.. the barrel aging is pronounced and very pleasing.. surprisingly lite body and a creamy carbonation.. lite pale malt and some background biscuity maltiness.. I am getting a fair amount of white wine... I don't know enough about wine to pick out chardonnay, but I guess this is about right... fairly dry and a bit dusty on the finish..

I liked this one significantly more than I thought I would... Pretty drinkable and surprisingly complex.... Thanks again Frank.. Truly appreciated.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Frank for getting this one over to me, this one of the next in line in the planet series for me. I decided to open this one up after dinner last night to see how it was. Served cold and allowed to warm up to near room temperature during the session. This one was consumed on 06/24/2009.
The pour was by far the best part of this one. Very light golden in color. A huge head of white rises up from the depths here, really just pushing the envelope of what can fit into the glass. Silently retreating it leaves a web of lace along the sides. The aroma was tainted with Brett at first. Nice subtle tart and sour notes that seemed to lighten as the beer warmed. Some light grain and a touch of apple or pear in here as well. The first taste was crisp, clean, but lacking that really big dose of funk I was hoping for. Still though very session able. Light fruit notes abound along with nice touches of light grain, hints of almost honey like touches and a really nice little sour note on the finish. Smooth, light carbonation and the ABV so well hidden I thought this thing was session able!
Overall a very well thought-out and very well put together light Belgian, but I think it needed a little bit more to really win me over. Still I cannot complain really as it tasted fantastic and was very drinkable. I think I just expect everything from Midnight Sun to be mind-blowing, which is not a bad thing at all!

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Photo of everetends
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A huge thanks goes out to AKBelgianBeast for my second offering from Midnight Sun. Labeled a Belgian Strong Ale, it has my attention from the get go. Served up in a St. Bernardus chalice. Lets get on it.

A: Pours a very beautiful, light golden yellow, that is not much unlike a chardonay in color. The body is clear and shiny, showcased a pretty active and constant carbontion activity. Held to the light, it has a very light golden color coming through, but it doesn't lose much color. The head was a solid finger of frothy white head, pristinely white. The lace is spotty, seemingly fickle about what location is worthy of its sticky presence. Very beautiful and very intriguing.

S: The smell is very present and aromatic, catching a whiff instantly as the cap is removed. It is wierd because the initial aroma is somewhere in between a chard and a nice champagne. Just very light and fruity with a nice tannin presence for sure. You can really smell the white grape presence vividly. Getting some pear and green apple in here that has a nice sour quality to it along with a touch of sweet goodness. There is a nice earthy and slightly funky goodness here as well, with just a touch of barn aroma. Not really getting any distinct aroma from the malts, but this beer doesn't need it because there is so much going on here. There is a slightly pungent aroma that I can quite put my finger on.

T: Good God, is this nice. The chard flavors really come out here with a nice and fruity grape presence. You get the tannin presence but also the sweetness of the grape. Then comes the fruity goodness in the form of pear, green apple, citrus fruits and just a note of peach I believe. All these fruits have a slightly tart and sour presence. Just a touch of bitterness coming out here from a seemingly floral, and herbal/medicinal hops presence. Getting a touch of spice lingering with some light horse barn notes. The slightly pungent quality comes out here with a creaminess that is very interesting. The best way I can put it is that it tastes slightly like the rind of a good brie. I imagine this flavor is being created somehow out of the light vanilla presence from the oak used here combined with the spicy qualities. This is just really interesting and absolutely something that I have not quite experienced yet.

M: Medium in body that has a nice and light airy quality to it. Still has a touch of smooth creaminess to it somehow. The carbonation is high and crisp for sure, almost champagne like at times. At times this beer can be tart, sweet, sour, or bitter. It just runs the gambit of what a feel can be. Alcohol is only as present as it is in a nice wine, very nicely balanced to match the flavors coming out here. Aftertaste is that brie rind along with some grape flavors.

D: This beer is quite amazing. I was kind of skeptical about it for some reason and I was almost putting off trying it. It just didn't appeal to me for some reason. Then after the brewfest yesterday, I was reminded how good Belgians could be so what the hell. This beer did not disappoint at all. It is a slow sipper, but mostly because the aromas and flavors are so challenging and amazing. Its not a bad thing or an alcohol influence, this beer kind of demands respect. Its quite nice. The use of the chard and oak works so well, and the chard characters come out so much more than I would have ever expected. This beer is a fine example of a very closely crafted beer. Simply put: Amazing.

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Photo of seaoflament
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big thanks goes out to Kyle for sharing this beer at the Bruery's 1st Anniversary party (5-16-09). I've wanted to try this beer since the news came out about its release.

Poured an attractive golden apricot color with a full inch of head and exhibiting some great retention and lacing on the sides.

Great aroma. Tropical fruits all around with some peach, mango, papaya, grapes, lemon, and leather. Good brett presence. At some points I detected some spicy or cinnamon aromas.

Unfortunately, the taste did not match the delicious aroma. Barnyard funk on the front with some distracting alcohol heat in the finish, almost fusel. Tropical fruits in the middle with some cereal flavors and plastic like funk in the finish. Was not impressed and almost every sip had some alcohol heat in the back of the throat. It wasn't just the alcohol heat that made me give this a less than stellar score, I just didn't sense much complexity in this one. Medium carbonation, airy and decent on the palate, medium dryness as well.

This is the second Midnight Sun beer that I had high hopes and ended up being disappointing.

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Photo of joe1510
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber

The ever generous AKBelgianBeast sent me this outstanding looking brew a couple months back, thanks Frank! This beer has been in the cellar awhile and I get a crystal clear golden pour thanks to that. Tiny carbonation rushes to the surface in tight streams. The head grows to two fingers on a soft pour and shows a lot of fizz up front before slowly falling to a one finger crown of meringue-like foam. Sticky sheet lacing clings to the glass after each drink.

The aroma brings with it a sugar cookie malt base that stays back to let the barrel and brett do their thing. Dusty yeast and overripe green apples play the major roles in the nose. The brett character is super unique and I find myself enjoying it immensely. The first whiff shows horsey brett that's well integrated and somewhat mild. A deeper pull and that horsey character take on an almost cinnamon quality that works surprisingly well. At times I get wildflower fields and at others I get damp horseblanket. As this one warms the barnyard steps to the forefront. The barrel is mild but the grapes add an underlying current of vinous sweetness.

I can't say the flavor lives up to the nose but it's not far off. Sugar cookie sweetness lays down the malt base while the semi-tart green apple bursts through. The brett shows off some horsey notes and a light tartness that sticks to the cheeks. The vinous sweetness tries to balance out the brett notes but falls just short. A couple new fruits show up on the rear, peach and lemon, which add some balance. This is a well put together brew with layer upon layer of flavor.

The mouthfeel is spot on for this brew. The lightly moderate body shows signs of sweetness upfront but dries out as it works over the tongue until the back of the tongue is bone dry. The carbonation is a bit prickly but also soft while a mild tartness runs along the cheeks.

This barrel aged, brett dosed beer is a sheer joy to drink. The play of sweet and tart work perfectly together to quench and make me thirst. The alcohol is nowhere to be found.

I'm of the understanding that Pluto is Fallen Angel aged in chardonnay barrels and dosed with brett. The barrel aging and brett has turned an already good beer into a masterpiece. I wish I had a few more of these in the cellar for later dates. Thanks for the beer Beast, it's a gem!

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Pluto - Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 97.3% out of 100 with 37 ratings
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