Beer Review 0340: The Bruery 5 Golden Rings
Each holiday season, The Bruery (Placentia, California) releases a special beer with the hopes that you’ll save at least one bottle that will culminate in one hell of a vertical tasting in the year…2019.
The 2012 release, 5 Golden Rings, is a golden ale (promised to be the only golden ale in the bunch) brewed with cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and pineapple juice. At 11.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), it’s certainly big enough to cellar. This series of beers is based on the festive Twelve Days of Christmas, and the beers are named based off the gifts given by “my true love,” as mentioned in the song.
Waiting twelve years to drink some beers that may or may not age well is a tough challenge, so we suggest you grab a bottle for now and put one away for the deep sleep.
The Bruery was founded by Patrick Rue, his brother Chris and wife Rachel; the three brewed a batch of Amber Ale using Cascade hops and the beer was so good that Patrick abandoned his future as an attorney and became a full-time brewer.
All Bruery beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized; they are also all bottle conditioned, meaning the carbonation occurs naturally through a secondary bottle fermentation. The name “Bruery” is a fusion of the word ‘brewery’ with the family name Rue.
5 Golden Rings pours an average size head, soapy and lasting. The color of the beer was a pleasant golden-orange, translucent, but hazy in body, and free of particles and sediment. Lacing was nowhere to be found, but that was expected for 11.5% ABV.
The nose is spot-on for a Saison/Farmhouse ale; lots of clove, banana, and allspice up front, with touches of spicy cinnamon and some ginger. There are some dry, dehydrated fruits like apricot and orange, perhaps a hit of pineapple, and a bready, musty yeast. The alcohol is completely hidden but there’s ample sweetness. The longer I sniff, the more I start to pick up on strawberries and it’s very shampoo-smelling. Very nice and complex.
On the taste, it’s a tale of good and not-so-good: initial waves of allspice, clove, banana, and cinnamon greet the taste buds. This mixture really starts to resemble a Christmas spice the longer you drink, but the transition into the middle and finish is where things start to get a little funky and muddy. The parting taste begins with some pineapple, but really green, almost sour pineapple. Enter the high ABV, which isn’t really there in taste but starts to warm the chest considerably; while that’s not a bad thing, the sweetness associated with it becomes a bit much. A sweet and sour beer? Well, the sour isn’t that extreme, but its there and makes for a strange conclusion. Add in an off note of tin/metal, and you’ve got a forgettable finish to a high dollar beer that makes getting through the entire bottle a chore.
Great first half of palate — lousy second half and conclusion. That’s unfortunate. I did enjoy the Christmas spice of this beer, but the pineapple is a bit much, the alcohol and accompanying sweetness are a bit much, and the metallic taste makes it undesirable. Approach with caution. Not sure this will age well, either. Your premium would probably be better spent elsewhere.
The Bruery 5 Golden Rings, 84 points. Price: $10.99 US for one 750 ml bottle.