R&D Bramble Berry Bourbon Barrel | New Glarus Brewing Company

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R&D Bramble Berry Bourbon BarrelR&D Bramble Berry Bourbon Barrel
258 Ratings
R&D Bramble Berry Bourbon BarrelR&D Bramble Berry Bourbon Barrel

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Also know as Wild Barrel

We are happy to announce a very limited release of a new R&D brew, Diploma Master Brewer Dan Carey’s Bramble Berry Bourbon Barrel. Bramble Berry Bourbon Barrel is a spontaneously fermented Wild Brown Ale from our Wild Fruit Cave. Expect a bright blend of forest fruit backed Oaky barrel notes. Great for aging or drinking today!

Added by UWBadgerFan4Life on 07-17-2015

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 258 |  Reviews: 59
Reviews by LanePerson:
Photo of LanePerson
3.04/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

More User Reviews:
Photo of Hugonaut13
2.95/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ml bottle poured into 22oz snifter at 50 degrees.

L- Pours an off burgundy, almost brick in color with a dark reddish/tan head. Not a good looking beer. Carbonation is very present and flowed up over the top of the oversized glass. The head receded into globs of foam. Yes, globs.
S- A mix of white and balsamic vinegar leaving with a faint finish of sweet macerated berries. Not pleasant at all up front.
T- A muddled mixture of oak, berry skins, sweet malt, vanilla and vinegar. This doesn't have much going on with either the wild ale side or the berry side. If one of these characteristics would have come to the forefront, this would have been a better beer.
F- Thick for the style and the alcohol, although not that high, is very apparent.
O- This beer fails to standout beyond average in any particular area. As it stands, this beer is not ready to drink right now. I have heard that Dan Carey was telling people to wait 4-6 months to crack their bottles. As this beer stands at this moment, I would wait.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.48/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

500 ml bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.
7.5% ABV, 24 IBUs, Brewed 3.13 + 3.14, 16.5°P, Bottled 7.15.15

A - Cloudy through and through, this murky mud-colored brew has red highlights with a pillowy pink-hued light khaki cap of foam. The acidity kills the suds quickly but the aroma remains. It's not an attractive-looking, welcoming brew by any means.

S - Fresh raspberry and blackberry notes meet tart cherry skins and while the funk is certainly there, barnyard notes are subdued, overcome by more flourishing lactic acidity with a touch of a vinegar bite. Bourbon undertones from the barrel-aging are soft, not harsh, though it's got a big aroma of oak. With everything else going on, it's easy to forget the brown ale base characteristics but even that smells as good as ever. Give this one a good swirl to really open up the funky, sour aroma!

T - Dry biscuity malt flavor opens up the wild brown base with a brief touch of simplicity before the "forest fruit" kicks in with a subtle blend of raspberry, blackberry, and hint of black cherry. Sour funk follows the fruit across the palate flirting with barnyard notes and soft lactic acidity that's felt more than it is tasted. Bourbon heat tickles the throat and warms the stomach but it's flavor is gentle, allowing more of the oak characteristics from the barrel to come forwards which really envelops the beer quite nicely.

M - The carbonation tickle starts at the tip of the tongue and follows through the throat somewhat modestly as the bourbon profile warms the stomach. Wild Barrel's sourness lands in a safe zone - not quite sour nor too tame; more acidic and tart than anything but a great way to end a sip of delicious beer!

O - It's no surprise Dan Carey would bust out another awesome fruit beer knowing their track record; Wild Barrel, or Bramble Berry Bourbon Barrel as it's been called, is another great rare Wild Fruit Cave release from New Glarus. Contrary to the majority of New Glarus' fruit beers, Wild Barrel, aside from the nose, isn't nearly as fruit-forward as their other offerings. Rather, this iteration focuses on a delicate balance between many otherwise strong contributing ingredients; fruit, wild yeast/bacteria, and bourbon barrels and blends them masterfully. I'll definitely hang on to bottle two for a while.

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Photo of kbwalters
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured cold into a New Glarus tapered glass.
Look = 4.0 Pours a cloudy, murky, rusty brown with a red tint and 4 fingers of red tinted, thick, frothy head that fades slowly to a cap; good lace. Not the most attractive pour.
Aroma = 4.25 A sweet, fruity aroma with notes of raspberry and blackberry; sort of a overripe berry aroma with some mild bourbon barrel notes and some alcohol burn as it warms. A hint of sour in the nose too.
Taste = 4.5 A mild sour upfront on the tongue fades quickly as the fruity components roll in; sweet fruity notes of bramble berries before the mild bourbon flavors come in on the backend; oak notes are there too with a mild hint of alcohol burn; overall a complex and interesting taste.
Feel = 4.0 Medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation; actually comes off a little flat to me but for a barrel aged sour I think it’s ok.
Drinkability = 3.75
Overall = 4.2125 Only a mild sour level but a complex blend of flavors keeps this one interesting. Nice balance between fruitiness and bourbon barrel characters.

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Photo of Ri0
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

poured 500ml into thin wine glass.

A - Dirty ruby that is cloudy. A reddish tan 2.5 finger head forms and holds retention forever. Blobs of lacing along the glass.

S - Big jammy berry notes perfume out of the glass. It is both sweet and tart smelling, but then the big oak and wood notes fill in along with very subtle bourbon and vanilla. Very pleasant.

T - As others have noted, there are so many flavors happening all at once in this beer. The beer was aged on 6 types of berries and I guess: Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Eldeberry, Blueberry, Mulberry, and Wild Strawberry. It is slightly tart, quite jammy and really enjoyable. You can really pick up the oak and bourbon when sipping it.

M - Rich, tart, medium body with a nice soft carbonation that is a bit dry.

O - Quite delicious and I bet it gets a bit more tart with age. Hopefully the bourbon notes fade a bit and let the berry flavor shine.

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Photo of thebigredone
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

If the word complex ever applied to a beer, this would be it. The taste changed every time I sipped it over an hour or so. Starts out with a moderate berry and oak expression, and as it warms the berry comes forward and the oak retreats. Raspberry, blackberry, cherry, oak, bourbon, vanilla, acid, dryness, sweetness all combine in a changing kaleidoscope of flavor. I would prefer the berry flavors were a bit more prominent, but that is my only complaint for this beer. Well done by NG (as usual)!

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Photo of lefty17
4.59/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Another very solid R&D release. Can't decide if I prefer Vintage or this one. Starts like you would expect a sour to, but really smooths out as it finishes. Tons of fruit in the middle and more of an oak finish. I don't get much bourbon at all.

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Photo of maximum12
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have had this a couple of times but never put ten fingers to keyboard about it. 500ML R&D bottle split with my wife.

The pour is light red, plenty of carbonation after it’s rest in the glass. The nose is complex & what I hope for out of a wild: bourbon, oak, raspberries, cherries. Luscious.

R&D Bramble Berry Bourbon Barrel proves once again these guys are heavyweights in a lightweight wild scene in the U.S. The oak is drier than an infield in mid-August (though not as hard, & I’m not wearing a cup while downing this). Behind the wood is bourbon-soak raspberries, cherries, and a light puckering that doesn’t reach sour, but does hit delicious pretty hard. Easy drinking.

It’s tough to find a sour that doesn’t rip your face off or overwhelm the other components (in this case the barrel & berries) with rampant bacterial viciousness. I want both! Here are both. Though only a bronze behind Very Sour Blackberry & Wild Peach, that’s still high praise, & I’m looking forward to the next one. Excellent brew.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.55/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Hazy ruby purple colored body with a small off-white head. Moderate lacing and thin retention ring. Aromas are distinctly plastic-like. Unappealing. Some slight aromas of funk, blueberries and blackberries. Thankfully, on the palate the plastic notes are not present. Juicy dark berries, oak, and a nice swift pucker.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.04/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Needs time. Nose has a ton of oak, vanilla, almost comes off as buttery (but in an oaky sense, not a diacetyl sense). The berries lurk underneath. A touch of vinegar and apparent alcohol. Disparate components need time to meld.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in a wine glass.

Pours a dark, murky brown body with a one finger light reddish-pink head that sticks around for a while. Nice retention, not much lacing. It's quite fruit forward with a combination of what smells like rich blackberries and raspberries; I have no idea what kinds of fruits they used, but it's in that similar vein. A lot of oak, not too much funk. No whiskey on the nose. Flavour is quite a bit different than it smells. The fruit suddenly takes a backseat to the oak and bourbon; there is so much oak here that it overwhelms the fruit. It's honestly odd in how it is different than expected, but in a good way. There is a nice bourbon presence on the second half which really makes this one different. In some ways, it's like drinking a glass of Weller neat, but without as much heat. This beer essentially took on the character of the barrel, but I think it did so at the expense of the fruit. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, almost bone-dry, very oaky on the finish. Good carbonation, neither is it still or a gusher. Overall, it's an unique, different beer that is definitely worth checking out, especially if you don't mind a bit of bourbon in your sours. I really would have liked there to be more fruit on the flavour, though.

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Photo of t2grogan
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of gibgink
4.62/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle given to me by javanoire. Sat on this one for a while before enjoying, as when she gave it to me she said that the brewer suggesting waiting about 6 months. So I waited a little longer than that. Pours a muddy brown, almost like dirty river water, although light does come through. Smells fruity. I was told this was hot coming out of the gate, but man has time done it well! There are delicious sweet fruity notes, which are then followed by a faint bourbon sweetness. It is hard to achieve that in the sense where a bourbon sweetness usually dominates or overpowers other sweet flavors, but not here. The fruit flows over to the barrel. Terrific.

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Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PSU_Mike
4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of wheresblue
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of brians52
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mdaschaf
4.02/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4.51/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Color is never going to be the prettiest on a sour brown base but a nice reddish purple color is poking its way through. The nose is a nice balance of fruit (raspberry, blueberry, etc.) with a little funk and heavy oak. Taste is very balanced. Not overly sour but a little more so than previous fruited R&D releases and it will likely dry out as time goes on. Plenty of fruit and the bourbon barrel adds a nice sweetness on the back end. Better carbonation on this compared to R&D Vintage. Pretty much perfect for a sour. Overall, another great R&D release that is a little less fruit forward than previous R&D releases and also a little more sour to start where the other ones were very fruit forward at the beginning and not as sour but dried out over time.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.88/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A huge thanks to Jeff for keeping the New Glarus R&D coming! 500ml pill bottle into a Grrrz teku. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1.5 finger light purple head with moderate retention. Beer is a cloudy dark purple. Lacing is spotty and stringy with excellent stick. A great looking beer. Very nice color.

Nose is funky, tart and seedy fruit juice. Notes of blackberry and blueberries. Exceedingly juicy with more sweetness than pucker. Solid.

Opens juicy blackberry and blueberry seediness. Juicy in the middle with a tart and seedy backbone. Fruit character is strong throughout but there's a strange soapiness that is pervasive through the berry character. Ends blackberry seed with a puckering, tart, oaky aftertaste. Pretty good.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Slick and with some bubbles in the mouth and goes down seedy and dry. Finishes tart with a bit of puckering and a lingering, lightly filmy aftertaste. Pretty good.

There's a certain something missing from this beer though I can't really put my finger on it. Fruit presence is very strong but it lacks a certain character and complexity. Worth trying but this is more of a fruit beer than a Wild Ale.

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Photo of fthegiants
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.7/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 mL bottle. Amber body with a big white head. Smells strongly of berries and bourbon barrel. Musty and acidic aroma. Tastes lightly sour. Lots of caramel malt. Bourbon and oak. Much less berry flavor. Strong carbonation. Bretty finish. Medium body. Smells better than it tastes, but it's pretty interesting.

 321 characters

Photo of needMIbeer
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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R&D Bramble Berry Bourbon Barrel from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 258 ratings