Conflux No. 1 (Collage)
Deschutes Brewery

Conflux No. 1 (Collage)Conflux No. 1 (Collage)
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Style:
American Strong Ale
ABV:
11.6%
Score:
93
Avg:
4.2 | pDev: 11.19%
Reviews:
222
Ratings:
820
From:
Deschutes Brewery
 
Oregon, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  109
Gots
  272
SCORE
93
Outstanding
Conflux No. 1 (Collage)Conflux No. 1 (Collage)
Notes: Deschutes Brewery and Hair of The Dog Brewing Company join forces to weave The Dissident and The Stoic and Fred and Adam into an artistic collage of cask-aging alchemy.

Barrel Aging: Rye Whiskey, Cognac, Sherry, Pinot Noir, Bourbon, new American Oak, and new Oregon Oak

Released in May 2012 (12 oz. bottles)
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Reviews: 222 | Ratings: 820
Photo of rodbeermunch
2.77/5  rDev -34%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Had this at Sour Sunday in February 2018. Previously bought a bottle but its been just chilling in the cellar. Glad I didn't buy more than one.

Pours a ruddy brown. Very thin lighter tan colored head 1/6". Some chunky floaties in there. Aroma was of vinegar, wood, earth. I dunno, already not feeling it.

Taste was leaning hard on The Stoic, dark sugar, dark fruit, dark malt. More of the sherry barrel seemed to stand out. Just lots of that dark fruit sherry bitterness to it. Mouth feel leans on the hot side alcohol and bitter burn. I dunno, seems to be kind of a hodge podge throw a little bit of everything into a bunch of barrels, blend it and see how it goes kind of vibe. At the price point of $1/oz, you have to be a significantly better beer than this for me to think it was worth it. Not even close in this instance. The kitchen sink approach doesn't work here man.

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Photo of tongatim
4.61/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I first enjoyed this amazing creation 6 years ago, almost to the day. At that time, I rated it on another site, which I no longer frequent because of their questionable conflicts of interest. Way back in November, 2012, I commented in my review: "Deep, fruity, alcoholic aroma. Deep rich complex tastes which took me through moments of sour Belgian to oaked red, to tawny port, to well aged-whiskey, with a lingering, complex pleasant aftertaste....sweet/sour balance, sweet/bitter balance."

A few months ago, I was blown away to find this long vanished gem reappear on the shelf of my favorite bottle shop. They had salvaged a stash from a local restaurant that went belly up, and had been unable to move their stock of more obscure expensive beers. Tonight I enjoyed the 4th of the six bottles I acquired, and can report that this beer has held up well, though hasn't noticeably improved beyond what was already pretty close to my idea of the perfect beer. It still has a very prominent alcohol/dark fruit/tobacco aroma. It pours cloudy copper-brown, with almost no head or lacing. The alcohol is more subdued in the tasting, and the mouthfeel is a little thinner than my memory of the original tasting. Carbonation remains moderate and quite appropriate to the overall structure. Complex layers of tobacco, sherry, and dark fruit. Prominent lingering of pie cherry, followed by dried apricot. Pleasant buzz from the high alcohol. I think the last two bottles will be gratefully drained at Thanksgiving, and I will indeed give thanks for the blessing of a second chance at this beer for the ages.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. Label is dated stamped as 'BEST AFTER 4/30/13'.
Murky, brownish red colored body. Short off white head settles to scattered islands and ring. Chunks of sediment settle to the bottom of the glass. Leaves a few spots of lacing.
Complex aroma: Red wine, oak, cherry, spicy tobacco, brown sugar, oak, leather, bourbon, and sherry.
Taste is heavily influenced by the barrels - vinous, tannic, bourbon and rye. Candied fruit with brown sugar. Tart cherry. Quite layered as to flavors and how the profile sets up.
Medium to full mouth feel, with a touch of syrup. Okay carbonation. Alcohol wafts up into the nose.
A beer that has picked up a lot of lot of wine and spirits notes. Has aged well with no oxidation. A true sipper to savor the complex layers.

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Photo of grover37
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz split with Lisa in Salida. Bottle from Coaltown Spirits in COS for $12. Over five years old now. Big notes of Sherry and red wine. Really interesting but won't track down more.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter
Best after 4/30/13

A- pours a murky brown color with a thin fizzy off-white head that disappears almost immediately.

S- up front aroma is an eclectic mix of spicy leather and tobacco, along with tart cherries, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses & plum. Undertones of barrel aromas pop through; spicy oak, bourbon, vinous notes & sweet sherry. One of the most unique aromas I've encountered in a while

T- slightly tart up front with some notes of tart dark cherry and vinegar, quickly followed by a caramel/toffee malty sweetness, along with that earthy tobacco/leather flavor of the HotD beers. Mid-palate gives a plethora of barrel notes; sherry, vinous white wine & new spicy oak. The finish is dry with lingers of oak, tart cherry and earthy tobacco

M- medium body with medium carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into the finish, abv hidden well

O- surprisingly, all four beers seem to make a presence in this creation and they somehow work well together. I didn't have this fresh, but being 5 years old I'm picking up no oxidation. Very good experiment

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage ("best after 4/30/13"); drank 5/2/16 @ the Yarchives.

Murky orange/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a nice khaki head; strong lace.

Red wine, dry oak mild dark caramel notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Dark cherry, dry oak & soda effervescence up front; red wine heat on the finish. Unique, wood heavy & red wine forward, this was very good but not quite great. Worth a quaff.

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Photo of thedetective
4.86/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A bit hazy caramel orange colour on the pour. Smells of sherry but also some red fruit and a deep toasty whiskey note behind. Tastes like a wonderful amalgam of whiskey, wine, and beer. Glad to have saved this one for four years (longest I've ever aged a brew), but it could have been given me time, despite the not always consistent temperatures during storage.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mostly clear light brown color with off-white, darker ivory colored head. Sweetness, caramel, dark fruits, cherry, berry, oak, plenty of barrel character, blends pleasantly, all on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied. Finishes with a berry, sherry, candied pecan type of sweetness. Well done, each of the barrels adds something to this beer.

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Photo of stevoj
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark amber ale bordering on a sour ale. Tart, sharp cider snap, dried fruit, wine like esters. Smooth and slick mouthfeel, with lingering tartness on the palate. A sipper for sure, with food.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle served chilled into a goblet. Date best after 4/30/2013.

Collage is a hazy reddish brown color with thin head that settles quickly - not uncommon for a beer of this style.

Aroma has raisins and brown bread, some nuts, maybe fruitcake. I pick up right away that it's both barrel aged and has some wild yeast ale blended in.

Flavor is mostly sweet but nicely balanced. It has a tannic, vinous character with good tartness. It's like a red wine with a hint of roast and mellowed hops.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and syrupy smooth. The carbonation is nice and low.

Overall an interesting collaboration between two excellent Oregonian breweries. I'm not a huge fan of sours but this beer is very well blended so that the sour doesn't overwhelm.

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Photo of FalconOne
4.61/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

One of the most complex and interesting beers that I have ever tasted. It is a fantastic layer upon layer of incredible richness of aroma and flavor. A truly wonderful beer that one should seek out and enjoy!

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Photo of adapt313
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was one of the most deeply layered and complex beers I've ever tasted. Masterfully blended and better than the sum of its parts. All four beers that went into this were present and distinguishable. Huge wine barrel and rye whiskey aromas combine with caramel, vanilla, and tobacco yet still manages to finish tannic and dry. The inclusion of the dissident in the blend really rounded everything out and counters all of the big, sweet flavors with a tanic, tart, and dry finish. Thick, heavy, and relatively low carbonation. This has so much going on yet blends so seamlessly together. Very impressed.

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Photo of maputnam25
4.66/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Really interesting beer. I bought this in 2013, and aged it for two years at the brewer's recommendation before this tasting. Terms we threw out: pinot noir, stone fruit, brown sugar, tannins, tobacco, cherry. Not quite like any beer I've ever had. Enjoyed alongside the Chinese takeout we happened to have.

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Photo of drpimento
4.66/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very interesting beer. Appearance is just ok with a smallish light tan head that soon settles to a ring and island with a bit of lace and a hazy dark amber color. Aroma is a very volatile mix of raisins, prunes, dates, figs, sherry, brandy, toffee, black pepper and a suggestion of peaches. Flavor's somewhat similar to nose, starts out a bit sweet and finishes in the back of the mouth with a long lasting tang. Excellent body. A beer to be shared and sipped. Well done, brewmasters!

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Photo of mtomlins
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to LuBiere (RB) for sharing!

Poured a reddish-brown in color with a thin, fleating head. It has a big, boozy nose, toasted malt, caramel, fruity/cherry notes, Brett and barrel. On the palate, lots of sweet malt, cherry fruitiness but a bit musty, tart, some oak...very complex and having a hard time describing. A bit thick/oily for the mouthfeel, but not overly so. A really interesting beer that challanges ones palate.

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Photo of Phocion
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. bottle dated "Best After" 4/30/13. Poured into a tulip with a dark brown color and mahogony highlights. Small foamy beige head with moderate retention that settles into a thin crown and moderate lacing.

Aroma is massive and very complex. Huge barrel flavors abound. Dark cherry tartness combines with a big rye whiskey aroma. Woody. Vinous and a bit of cream/oloroso sherry-like sweetness and nuttiness which also imparts just a touch of oxidized character. A bit of brown sugar and vanilla.

Flavor is just as complex as the nose. Heavy BDSA-like candi sugar dark fruits combine with a pinot noir-like cherry, presumably from the barrels. Light sherry-like oxidation. Tart and very mildly acidic flavors cut through the heavy sweetness. Whiskey flavors linger but don't overpower. Slightly dry, earthy, woody finish. Alcohol flavors surprisingly muted considering the whopping ABV.

Heavy body and relatively low carbonation. Thick, chewy mouthfeel, but not cloying. No astringency. Very warming alcoholic feeling.

Wow, this beer has a lot going on. A blend of four big beers isn't enough, so Deschutes just had to stick it in multiple barrels. Currently it's drinking very well, with all the barrel and beer flavors blending very smoothly. Sweet, dry, and tart flavors all combine to give it a phenomenal balance for such a complex and big beer. Sherry, bourbon, rye, and pinot noir barrels are all noticeable but none overpowering. This was definitely a treat.

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Photo of LouZ
1.89/5  rDev -55%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Poured 12/26/14 from a 12oz bottle. Color is deep copper, almost brown, with a sliver of head and light bubbles. Smell is not overly strong, but I'm getting a hint of barleywine and whiskey. Taste hits me like a punch to the face: little at first, but then you get slight whiskey that develops into a wine flavor; definite booze punch that is tronger here than in some others I've had with as much or more ABV. There is an alcohol burn here. This beer finishes very tart, sour; which ruins it for me. This is not my style, and I did not do enough research to determine this is what I was getting. Feel was fine; carbonation was still strong with a dry finish. Sours just are not my deal, but I imagine those who enjoy them will love this.

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Photo of BrewChatKen
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Aroma was huge and complex, there was raisin, plum, strawberry, cherry, grapes, wine, whiskey, booze, a sour vinegar element and oak. The color was interesting as well, it poured a hazy deep amber, almost brown, color with very little head, typically indicative of a sour. Lo and behold it was quite tart on the palate, I know there was a sour beer involved and wine barrel aging, and I really liked that. Also got raisin, plum, blackberry, pomegranate, wine, cherries, whiskey/bourbon and wood. There's was a nice sweetness running through it in addition to the sourness, and some earthiness. It was full bodied, but also crisp and tart. All in all I thought this was an incredible beer with a lot of depth and complexity. Glad I was able to try it and can't wait to see what other craziness comes out of this conflux series in the future. Cheers!

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The coup de grace of our Conflux No. 1 tasting, we enjoyed this out of a 12 oz brown bottle with a "best after" date of 4/30/13. Even though I've had this beer before, it will be interesting to see if I can pick out the various components from the blended beers--Fred, Adam, Stoic, Dissident. Poured into an old fashioned glass.

Appearance (4.25) - I really expected this one to look a bit muddled with the various styles being included, but it pours a gorgeous chestnut hue of brown with some reddish tints and a tiny bit of haze, but less haze than I expected. Atop the body sits a finger of ecru foam that shows moderate retention before fizzling away to a ringlet and spots of film on the surface. Lacing is subdued and faint.

Smell (4.25) - Here is where I start to recognize the various notes of the beers I just drank. There are notes of both light and dark fruits, also a hint of pomegranate tartness that pairs up well with the balsamic acidity to balance the richer notes of leather and dried tobacco that peek through from the Adam. I really didn't expect to be able to detect components of each beer so distinctly, but here we are. So far this is a massive success.

Taste (4.5) - Much like the smell, the component beers are each well-represented, with none really overpowering the others. Here, the fruitiness becomes a little more distinct, with notes of golden raisin and dried fig, as well as some black plum. I don't get the pomegranate as much at this phase, but there is a semi-sweet tartness on the finish that provides just a touch of bite. Any more and it would ruin the more savory and sweet elements of the taste, but as it is, it's just a point of subtle interest. There are earthy undertones and wet bark going on here as well, and just hints of bitterness that somehow help to balance out all the disparate components.

Mouthfeel (4.0) - Medium-bodied and moderate carbonation, with a slightly creamy feel and just a pinch of puckering on the tongue.

Overall (4.25), this is one of the oddest and most interesting (in a good way) beers I've ever had. While it's far from the first blended beer I've sampled, I think it may be the first where the beers used were so stylistically stratified. A golden strong ale, an old ale, a quad and an oud bruin aren't a combination that I would have imagined myself. Then throwing it into seven different barrels... crazy. In some ways, it's amazing that it turned out as well as it did--with so many elements, there were many places along the way where something could have gone very wrong. Cheers to HOTD and Deschutes for showing ambition and kudos to them for it paying off. I will certainly buy this beer anytime I run across it sitting on a shelf, even if it's $10 for 12 oz.

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Photo of Admbmb92
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ordered a bottle at HoTD tasting room. Poured into a tulip, best after date 4-30-13. Enjoyed 8-3-14 :)
A- pours a reddish brown color. No head but some foam and bubbles.
S- cherry, dark fruit, cranberry, brown sugar, chocolate
T- the dissident has definitely taken over with a nice tart finish. I predominately taste The Dissident and The Stoic with Adam and Fred complimenting those flavors with vanilla, chocolate, dark fruit, sweet fruit, orange, brown sugar, perfect tart finish, and booze that warms up as it goes down. Very very smooth for such high abv.
O- absolutely incredible blend by two very different but world class breweries. You can easily make out every beer and the barrel age notes. Well done

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
11.6% ABV, Best After 4/30/13

A - Ruby mahogany in color, Collage pours with great clarity and a surprisingly stable off-white head that leaves a ring of Swiss cheese-like suds on the beer but little in the way of lace left on the glass.

S - The huge mess of barrel-aging this beer went through goes a long way in the nose, leading the sense of smell down a winding path of glorious confusion and complexity. Rye spice tickles the nose with sharpness while Sherry fruit and red grape skin tug in a different direction, leaning towards distressed leather. The malty body furthers the complexity with more dark fruit preserves spread over toasted wheat English muffin and sprinkled with brown sugar. With ever whiff I feel I've barely scratched the surface.

T - Despite the deep and frankly intimidating complexity of the aroma, this first edition of the Conflux Series yields a far more simple flavor. Nuances of rye whiskey and bourbon alcohol skim the surface of the tongue, giving way a bready malt beer that finishes with lingering virgin oak notes.

M - Warming alcohol dries out the tongue which leaves a certain thinness on the palate despite the beer's clearly malty heft; a good balancing act that's not overlooked.

O - At first,Collage, the first release in Deschutes and Hair of the Dog's Conflux Series, smells like a barrel-aged mess, flooding the olfactory with too many directions but, as the beer warms and more and more sniffs are taken, it really comes together nicely. It's obviously had some time on it between it's release and my enjoyment but the alcohol is mellow and flavor profile is fantastic.

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Photo of ThePaintedGrey
3.22/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz. bottled poured into imperial pint glass.

Bottled in May 2012, consuming in July 2014.

A: Pours a slightly opaque mahogany with some organic honey tinges around the edges. Even with a moderate pour, little to no head was formed. Lack of a head = lack of any lacing. The beer's coloring, however, is gorgeous.

S: An strong whiskey aroma upfront with some hints of oak or cedar wood and bitter grapes. Alcohol is clearly apparent, considering this one smells almost exclusively of whiskey.

T: First sip was far too cold and really seemed to mask a lot of the flavors, giving this a strong, pungent oak-aged whiskey flavor. It's starting to warm up now and the flavors are slightly more pleasant. In addition to heavy whiskey notes, I'm tasting some malty sweetness, in the direction of honey and light brown sugar or molasses. The middle is an extremely tart fruit medley, red and white grapes, cherries, perhaps a bit of plum, leading well into the finish. The lingering flavor is mildly boozy with a lot of woody flavors—oak and some cedar almost.

M: Probably the best aspect of the brew here... A solid medium body with a very subdued carbonation makes this extremely smooth. Slides across the palate nicely and feels wonderful in the mouth.

O: I don't love this beer, and prior to letting it warm up beyond cellar temperature, I didn't even like it. A little bit of patience with this keeps it out of drain pour territory. The flavors are super complex and clearly an example of the artistic prowess of both parties involved; however, I'm open about my dislike towards whiskey and bourbon, and given that both of which are very dominant in the flavor profile, I found myself less than pleased with this. Would have liked to try it fresh, though.

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Photo of M-Fox24
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Collaboration worth capitalizing on:

A: Has an elusive tan/off-white head, and would say has a hazy/murky amber color to it; red wine essence if you will

S: Fairly complex considering all the varieties that went into this guy: caramel, fruit, cherry, grapes, raisins, malt and oak

T: Malty sweet then sour: fruit, grapes, cherries, vanilla, toasted oak and bourbon, brown sugar and even slightly Smokey. The intricacies of this collaboration present a nice warming aftertaste

M: A medium/full body and a comforting level of carbonation

O: A fairly well balanced, and complex beer by the authors Deschutes and Hair of the Dog…..when the cap comes off, the novel begins

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Photo of marchoftheclouds
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Best by date of 4-30-2013 ... ENJOYED and reviewed on 6-22-2014

A - Murky, burgundy color

S - I first noticed cherry and light notes of malt

A - Pours a murky, dark burgundy with almost no head or lacing

T - COMPLEX ... Sometimes I taste individual elements of the Hair of the Dog beers and sometimes I taste a new beer with tart fruit. This is a beautifully balanced beer.

M - Just right for this perfect blend of four beers. I've had all four beers and they are expertly blended.

O- It has to be hard to blend beers together to complement each other without overwhelming each other. I keep thinking I like this as is and wanting the individual element, especially Fred!

If I had the choice between the individual beers and this outstanding combination, I'd prefer the individual beers, but I loved what they did here.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The appearance was a dark copper color with no head.

Smell - From the aroma, you can well this was aged in wine barrels. It is like a quality sweet wine.

Taste - At the from, the grapes of the wine barrel aging dominate. But then, you can tell this is an American strong ale. The malts bend toward the sweeter parts of the palate, but then shift toward sour in the after taste. It is sticky like butterscotch, but has the elements of wine. Without question, the aftertaste is warming.

Mouthfeel - I beer coats the tongue allows the sourness of the grapes to dance on the tongue long after each swallow. The carbonation is low, with the thickness being appropriate for the style.

Overall - It would seem the aging would not work for the style, but I like is a lot. Since I did not have it fresh, I can not vouch for what aging did. Aging rarely harms a beer like this.

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Conflux No. 1 (Collage) from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 820 ratings