Joseph Formanek's picture

Judge's Review: 85 Rating - Flayrah by Upland Brewing Co.

July, 2019
Judges Rating: 
24 / 24
5 / 6
33 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

Flayrah by Upland Brewing Co. is one of their offerings in the Bourbon Barrel aged beer craze – this one is a Wee Heavy. This one does have a solid backbone, but some of the malty richness associated with the base style was reduced, presumably due to this aging process. This beer is being evaluated as a Category 33A Wood-aged beer as per the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines with Wee Heavy as the base style. 

A Rich caramel/toasted malt aroma greets you with evident bourbon and wood in the background. The bourbon character does not overwhelm the malt, which is greatly appreciated! There are a few berry/cherry esters also noted. This starts out well!! The beer is a somewhat cloudy amber-brown color, with a off-white small bubble head with fair retention. 

Upon the first sip, the initial malt character is surprisingly subdued considering the aroma. The malt lacks in complexity, hiding behind the bourbon, wood and ethanol notes that dominate the flavor. This is not saying that this is a bourbon bomb – it’s just that the malt notes are quite low. It initially comes off as a bit harsh, though if the beer is allowed to breathe, a certain level of sweeter maltiness does come through and is more enjoyable. Hop character is, as expected, low. Initially the finish retains the bourbon, wood and alcohol notes, but this also mellows a bit as it breathes with a touch of malt coming through. The body is perceived as being quite thin for the style with low levels of carbonation. Over time, the body does increase, but by then the carbonation has disappeared. 

The aroma of this one was extremely promising, however, the overall flavor did not carry through with this promise. When allowed to breathe, the overall quality of the brew improves quite dramatically, however it never exhibits the rich malt flavor that is expected from the Wee Heavy style. Cheers and enjoy!