Beer Review 0546: The Bruery White Oak Wheat Wine
I sat a goal for myself at the start of 2013 to review one beer from The Bruery (Placentia, California) each month. Things didn’t quite work out that way, which I why I have worked three Bruery beers in this month, bringing this year’s total to 10 different beers from this particular company. Not too shabby.
The Bruery opened in 2008, the home brew product of Patrick, Chris, and Rachel Rue. Patrick and Chris are brothers; Rachel is the wife of Chris. The first home brew batch the three made was an amber ale with Cascade hops; as the years went by, Patrick, who was going to law school, saw his beer passion become bigger than his law studies. He decided the rest of his life should be dedicated to making beer, so he got loans and started The Bruery, which is a fusion of his last name, and well… Brewery.
Most of The Bruery’s beers are considered to be experimentations brewed in the Belgian tradition. None of their beers are filtered or pasteurized; all are bottle conditioned and use a proprietary Belgian yeast strain.
White Oak is a blended beer — it’s 50% wheat wine aged in bourbon barrels (called White Oak Sap) and 50% Mischief, a golden strong ale that I’ve yet to review. The result of the blend is an 11.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) beer that rings in at 20 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). White Oak is part of The Bruery’s “special collection” series and is a limited release; it began distribution in October of 2009.
The pour delivered a large, long lasting head that was frothy in texture and turned more foamy as it began to diminish. Color of the beer was pale golden, with a cloudy body that made it difficult to see through. Although cloudy, there were no particles or sediment; lacing was excellent, leaving behind thick and chunky clumps of foam.
The nose really reminded me of a barrel aged Triple — yeah, that’s probably something you don’t smell often. Big bread notes from the malt bill and the yeast; grainy malts, doughy, musty yeast. The bourbon is here but it’s more of the barrel characteristics than the actual spirit itself; plenty of sweet vanilla with minor tones of woodsy oak and coconut. The orange peel works itself in nicely, along with a very mild grape/raisin that borders on dark fruits. The alcohol is completely hidden, and it’s a very nice aroma to match a great visual.
On the palate, White Oak opens with creamsickle — sweet vanilla and orange peel, with twinges of light oak wrapped in crisp wheat and grain. The bourbon is, once again, very subtle, just producing a bit of heat on the tongue, cleansing the palate for more flavors of toasted coconut, and even more orange peel. The finish is very dry and bittersweet — lingering vanilla, orange peel, and bready yeast with a fairly big alcohol warmth in taste and body feel. I’d call this brew full-bodied, with a medium, quite foamy (lively carbonation) mouthfeel that is very arid on the swallow, a lot like orange juice.
White Oak is a very nice beer that is nuanced and complex — the finish is a bit harsh, and the alcohol is perhaps too much at this stage in the game, but I found this bottle to be easily drinkable and quite tasty. I’m not sure about the age as there is no date stamped to the bottle or label, but I’m guessing it is this year’s bottling and perhaps a bit of downtime would relax the alcohol. It, combined with the active carbonation, are a little sharp. This beer is one to watch and check back in a few months. Outstanding.
The Bruery White Oak Wheat Wine, 94 points. Price: $7.99 US for one 750 ml. bottle. (I happened to find this on deep discount; you can expect to pay around $15.99 for this bottle under normal circumstances.)