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White Birch Apprentice Series Colonial Ale

White Birch Apprentice Series Colonial Ale
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RATINGS: 7   MEAN: 3.73/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.24/5   SEASONAL: Series   EST. CALORIES: 204   ABV: 6.8%
With this release by Christian Weber, our sixth brewer apprentice, we take you back in time. Based on Christianís research of colonial era ales, we aged this beer on fresh hewn, air dried cedar. Brettanomyces was added at bottling to help bring a character of old to the beer as it ages.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
ClarkVV (5804) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - JAN 31, 2014
Batch 1 2011 bottle, drunk 1/31/14
Even after refrigeration for a week, the bottle is still a gusher, which is annoying since that stirs up the sediment. Thusly, a hazy, though not quite cloudy pour. Very lovely auburn body is topped by a tan colored head that is retained well, probably mostly in part due to the gushing levels of carbonation.
At first whiff, itís just very tart, almost sharp brett. Tons of band-aid and unripe white grapefruit zest. Maybe a touch of the cedar as well? After 5 minutes of warming/breathing, the cedar is unmistakeable, and quite a nice touch, adding another layer of complexity. With an additional 5-10 minutes more, some maltiness finally emerges, very lightly, producing toffee and caramel notes. The brett, earthy/woody cedar and toffee notes all work well together and I imagine this is exactly the intended effect from the brewers. Aroma strength is medium, probably a bit muted by the sediment that was stirred up with gushing. No alcohol or off-flavors.
Very expansive carbonation washes the brett acids all over the palate, while the malt, which is nicely attenuated at this point, combines to produce notes of cherries and sweeter limes. A hint of caramel sweetness in the middle is the extent of what I would imagine was a fairly sweet beer when young. Some earthy/bready notes are either a product of oxidation or the yeast being stirred up, but actually work fine with the character of the beer. Touch of warming on the end, but no real alcohol to be found. Donít get all that much of the cedar in the flavor and even though the brett pretty much dominates the show here, the beer is still nicely complex and well-balanced. Just another testament to how brettanomyces will make a probably otherwise unexciting, sweet beer in to something, mostly dry, complex and very enjoyable.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Sammy (11180) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - OCT 3, 2013
Somewhat sour malt, a little roasty. Smooth mouthfeel. Tons of retained bubbly foam on medium brown colour. Brett has done wonders to this. Good drinkability and something to share. July 2011 bottling. Thanks John.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 7/20
abe (3) - USA - SEP 26, 2012 does not count
aroma: brett and apple juice. appearance: clear brown with way too much head. gusher. taste: cedar, not much like the nose. metallic. palate: very thin. way overcarbonated. overall: actually, quite a bad beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
pinto1993 (45) - Revere, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 29, 2011
16.9oz capped bottle poured into a Tripel Karmeliet goblet. Appearance is a dark, reddish brown with a huge fluffy brown head that dissipated slowly. A bit over carbonated. Smells of Brett, spicy citrus and pine. After waiting 5 minutes for the head to die down, it tastes of funky Brett, citrus and with a sweet after taste. Funky Brett is predominate. Overall, if you like the funk youíll enjoy this beer. I would definitely have this one again.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
johnnnniee (3797) - Bedford, New Hampshire, USA - DEC 13, 2011
Bottled July 2011 Batch 1 Picked up the 16oz bottle of this at the brewery, sign next to the beer warned of an over carbonation potential from the brett. I opened over the sink with no ill effects. Pours a slightly cloudy rusty reddish brown color with a decent tan head that recedes but never goes away and leaves decent lace. Smells tart with a hint of cedar. Tart almost lactic cherry and lemon with a bit of brown sugar. The nose is a dead ringer for a Flanders style brew. This doesnít taste at all like it smells! Malty caramel and brown sugar with bit of bretty funk. Sharp tannins from the cedar as well as some wheat or Belgian yeast funk thrown in the mix. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation syrupy watery mouthfeel. Iím torn on this one. I canít believe that this beer was the original intent, but its not half bad. Iíd be interested to see how this one ages, oud bruin perhaps?

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Lubiere (12883) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - SEP 19, 2011
A reddish copper ale with a thin brown head. In aroma, a strange woody and peppery malt, with light Brett notes. In mouth, a smooth nutty chocolate with woody notes, Brett and coffee, very interesting. Bottle at Belgian Beer Fest, Sept 10, 2011.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
puboflyons (3101) - Allenstown, New Hampshire, USA - SEP 4, 2011
Bottled July 2011, Batch One, Bottle no. 564. The pour is an extremely foamy reddish-brown. The aroma is wooden, probably due to the cedar, and light malts. The body is around medium. There is a very biting bitterness in the taste along with wood and yeast, Elegant. One cannot help but to wonder how closely this beer mirrors the flavor of the beer drunk in the taverns of the eighteenth century

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