Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Whale A Week: The Bruery White Chocolate

This week we continue a series of rare beers that we tasted a few weeks back in my bar.  We actually started with this beer, then moved to the big bold beers.

The Bruery White Chocolate 2014

Sarajo and I were lucky enough to visit The Bruery in Placentia (not Placenta) California in Fall of 2014.  We were at Disneyland to celebrate our anniversary and made sure to take an afternoon off from animated characters and thrill rides for one of my favorite breweries in the world.  Check HERE for the blog entry on that visit.  While there we sprung the $30 each for a couple bottles of the just released and limited White Chocolate.  This is a wheat wine aged in oak barrels with vanilla beans and TCHO chocolate.  I've had high hopes about this one, especially since the bottle we tried for 2013 ended up being sour and dumped down the drain.  RateBeer gives this beer a 98 and Beer Advocate a 92.

We served this into snifters and let it warm up a bit before tasting.  The beer is 14.3 % and from 2014.  For this session we had me (BJCP judge, homebrewer, stout lover), Jim Stroner (Tin Whiskers Beer-Vangelist, craft beer geek), Dave Manley (homebrewer, learned beer geek), and Sarajo (my wife and fan of non-hoppy beers.)

Aroma: In which we get hopeful of things to come...
Eric: Fairly subtle.  Vanilla grows as it warms up.  Boozy.  Chocolate is very mild.  Hint of tartness.  Some oak tannins.  No hop aroma.
Jim: Chocolate and bourbon.
Dave: Initial wheat tart, then untoasted oak.  White chocolate.  Alcohol.

Appearance: In which we all apparently see a different beer...
Eric: Deep gold in color.  Slight haze to it.  Fine white head persists at edge of glass, but most fades quick.
Jim: Amber.  Cloudy.
Dave: Copper orange.  Slight haze.  Minimal head.

Flavor: In which Eric makes "bitter beer face!"
Eric: Tartness up front.  Wheat malt very pronounced.  Vanilla is strong and comes out once the tartness has faded from the tongue.  Boozy hot alcohol.  Chocolate is difficult to pick out.  Body fairly thin.  No hops.
Jim: White chocolate, vanilla and an unexpected souring.
Dave: Tart.  Wheat.  Boozy. Orange.

Overall: In which we all mix tears into our glasses and ceremoniously pour down the drain...
Eric: Souring.  The sourness clashes and destroys the delicate sweeter vanilla and chocolate flavors.  The sweetness is cut down by the souring and the body is dryer than expected.  Harsh booze and sourness just kills this for me.  I love intentional sours--Flanders Red and Lambics are my favorite beer styles--but this one just seems like a mistake.  Epic fail two years running from one of my top 10 breweries.  $30 I dumped down the drain.  Again.  2.75
Jim: Had potential but the sour was confusing. 2.75
Dave: Not terribly drinkable, if it was an 8 or 9% ABV it could be better.  3
Sarajo: We should have just bought another Atomic Kangaroo...2.75

Overall Score:  2.8

Photo info:  This week I tried to make my own brush with Photoshop Elements by taking a picture of a white chocolate square and scattering them over the bottle pic.  No matter what I did it was partially transparent so this didn't work quite to my liking, but hey--I tried something new!

1 comment:

Cambria said...

Hi Eric,

Thanks for sharing your experience with White Chocolate. We take quality seriously at The Bruery, and are open to feedback on issues like this. Please know that you can always get in touch with us about quality concerns and we will do our best to make it right so that you may enjoy the beer as it was intended, and we can look into what we might be able to improve. You can do so by messaging our Facebook page or emailing us at