Jason Johnson's picture

83 Rating: Oak Brux by Upland Brewing Co.

December, 2017

Oak Brux

Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
5 / 6
35 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

This beer is being judged against BJCP category 28A, Brett Beer. This version is 100% Brett aged beer aged with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. The description for this category states: "Most often drier and fruitier than the base style suggests. Funky notes range from low to high, depending on the age of the beer and strain(s) of Brett used. Funkiness is generally restrained in younger 100% Brett examples, but tends to increase with age. May possess a light acidity, although this does not come from Brett."

The beer pours a golden color leaning more towards the yellow side than orange. It has good clarity with a mild haze. The head is also light gold as it has just a hint of yellow to it which is interesting. The head pours high but dissipates quickly leaving a very thin layer. I get a lot of complex aromas, one of the most dominant being that of leather. But there is an underlying barnyard character as well. There are some fruity undertones that could be from the use of Brettanomyces and that is a faint pineapple fruitiness. The oak is also evident as it provides a very faint woody and vanilla aroma. I do not pick up any discernable hop aroma.

The flavor is a bit thin, as could be expected with Brett as it can dry things out because it can eat some of the more complex sugar chains that regular beer yeast cannot. However, that watery flavor is not all that enjoyable. There is a tartness to the beer and since this beer is 100% Brett fermented, I don’t think it comes from the microbe, but rather from the carbonation. The beer is highly carbonated. Yhat balance between the malt flavors and carbonation seems off and leaning heavy to the carbonation which makes it slightly acidic.

In my opinion, the beer could surely benefit from a boost in the malt category to balance things out a bit. The low pineapple flavor carries over from the aroma, and there is a low phenolic flavor. But all in all the flavor comes across lacking any real depth. The mouthfeel is thin and watery, I don’t get any astringency, and as I mentioned in the flavor the beer is highly carbonated.

Probably not my favorite barrel aged Brett beer I’ve had. But obviously you should try it for yourself to see if you disagree or not. But for me the beer fell a little short.