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ASN Tasting Panel - Sour Barrel Aged Beers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Sullivan   
Monday, 31 May 2010 17:00
With sour beers one of the fasting growing segments of the craft beer market, ASN decided to make barrel aged sour beers the focus of our latest tasting.

As always, all beers were tasted blind, and panelists had no information on any of the beers except for style and fruit used, if applicable.

2007 Vintage Oak Aged Ale, 7%, Brouwerij Rodenbach, Roeselare, Belgium: Aged for two years in barrel #230 at the Rodenbach brewery. Nice pop from the cork, poured a clear ruby color with garnet highlights, with a generous head and good lacing. Muted dark fruit nose, dusky sweetness with slight wood notes. “Smooth flavor up front, then tartness kicks in. Really smooth and balanced, no rough edges. Superb.” “Great depth of flavor and complexity. Very well balanced.” 5 stars

Gargemel, 9.2%, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME: Barrel aged with brett and raspberries for 18 months. Hazy copper color, thin head. Raspberry aroma with some lactic sourness, raspberry seeds, with vanilla and a hint of the barn underneath. “Very nice, clear, clean flavor. Carbonation is right on, lightening up the flavor. Very complex, wood comes in at end.” “Tart fruit, with hints of malt. Perfect balance of everything.” 4.5 stars

Sui Generis, 10.2%, Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, CO: A blend of beers aged in four different barrels: cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, port, and bourbon. Hazy cider gold appearance with good carbonation and lacing. Subtle nose, with slight vinous and brett notes and a trace of hop underneath. “Complex and very well done. Perfect wood. Delicious!” “Really nice fight between sweet and sour flavors, alternating with wood. Quite a complex beer. Warm, but not hot finish.” 4.5 stars

Red Poppy Ale, 5.5%, Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA: Sour cherry ale aged six months in oak barrels. Light pop from the cork, poured a deep orange/red hue, some haze. Chocolate, cherry, and malt nose, with notes of spicy wood and a bit of brett. “Dark grains and caramel flavors are a perfect blend with oaky vanilla and chocolate sour notes. Amazing balance lingers nicely. Wood and sour done right.” “Big mouthful of tartness. Underlying sweetness with creamy coffee notes. Good version of this style.” 4 stars
Friek, Odell Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO: A blend of three separate cherry and raspberry beers, two brewed with wild yeasts. Hazy pink color, very effervescent pour with big bubbles. Cherry and brett nose, almond aroma (probably cherry pits) and raisins. “Sour fruit up front, long slide into tartness, long, sour finish. Nice balance of tart and sweet.” “Smooth, tart/sour is there, but not overpowering on the palate.” 4 stars

Vagabond, 10%, Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME: Wild ale aged four years in American oak barrels. Nice cork pop, good carbonation, pours reddish copper with small head. Delicate vanilla and wood aromas with sherry, whiskey, and vanilla. “Tart malt before Madeira. Oxidation blends well with sour body. Shows it’s age appropriately.” “Great after dinner sipper. Age shown. Unique taste.” 4 stars

Grand Cru, 6%, Brouwerij Rodenbach, Roeselare, Belgium: An oak aged Flanders Red ale. Good pop from the cork and good carbonation. Garnet hue with ruby highlights. Complex aromas of tart fruit, aromatic alcohol, soy sauce, and vinegar, with an acetone note. “Very good, rich fruity sweetness but very tart. Complex balance.” “Well balanced, slightly sweet but good Flemish Red nonetheless.” 3.5 stars

Eric’s Ale (Lips of Faith), 7%, New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO: A wild ale aged in oak up to three years, blended with a younger beer and refermented with peach juice. Deep golden color, brilliantly clear with good carbonation. Aromas of vanilla, peach, and clean grainy malt, with light brett underneath. “Nice balance. Fruit is there, but there’s beer there too. Complex but drinkable.” “Slightly sour on the front of the palate, subtle fruit also. Tart, but not in a brett way.” 3.5 stars

Brabant, 8.65%, Avery Brewing, Boulder, CO: A wild ale aged in red Zinfandel barrels. Deep, dark brown color with good carbonation and a big head that fell quickly. Chocolate, prunes, raisins, wet straw, brett, metal, and oxidized aromas. “Great balance. Nothing overpowers, but all come through strong. Nice dark malts, dark fruits, bitterness and brett.” “Complex! Chocolate, wood, leather, carbonation up front, lingering oxidation in finish. Really interesting, but not sure how much I want to drink.” 3 stars

La Folie Sour Brown (Lips of Faith), 6%, New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, CO: Colorado Reddish brown garnet hue, very clear with not much carbonation. Complex nose of mocha, tart cherry, funk, chocolate, leather and metal. “Creamy tart flavor, earthy with medium body. Well balanced. Sour, but body keeps it really tasty.” “Tartness immediately followed by sweetness, then right back to tartness. Sourness really dominates.” 3 stars

Enigma, New Glarus Brewing Co., New Glarus, WI: A sour brown ale with cherries aged in oak. Poured deep copper, crystal clear with not much carbonation or head. Crazy nose of cinnamon, apples, vanilla, and coconut with faint cherry notes. “I like the balance between sweet and sour, vanilla, hint of dark cherry and pits, and wood. Tastes like a coconut oatmeal raisin cookie. “Good balance of tart and sweet. Spiced Winter fruit ale? Some sweetness/oxidation.” 2.5 stars

Rosie, 9%, Lakefront Brewing, Milwaukee, WI: Oak aged cherry beer. Brilliantly clear copper color with pink highlights. Good carbonation and pinkish head. Light cherry nose, very delicate, with spices and wood underneath. “Cherry fruitiness right up front with a little sweetness quickly followed by tartness, almonds, and vanilla. Finishes sour. Enjoyably evolving beer.” “Tart fruit up front, not too much. Good drinking and balance.” 2.5 stars

Depuceleuse, 9.73%, Avery Brewing, Boulder, CO: 100 percent brettanomyces fermented ale brewed with sour cherries and aged in zinfandel barrels. Hazy medium copper color with fluffy white head that fades quickly. Wild yeast nose balanced by fruit and malt. “Sweetness and cherries at the beginning, followed by tartness, oak, and cherry pit bitter almond flavor.” “Big sour flavor hits first, a bit harsh, mellows out in malt finish. A slight metallic undertone.” 2.5 stars

Willi Funkhammer, 9.8%, Willimantic Brewing Co., Willimantic, CT: Five-year-old barleywine aged in a bourbon barrel with brett and pedio. No pop from the cap, very still, reddish copper color. Complex aromas of bourbon, tobacco, caramel, chocolate, coconut, and caraway seed. “Surprisingly thin given the great aroma. Mellow sweetness up front followed by an acetic sourness. Long finish with faint brett and pedio.” “Interesting beer. I get the bourbon, also oxidation. Some carbonation would help unify it — the flavors are very separate, sour, then sweet.” 2.5 stars

Cherry Woods, 4.7%, Cisco Brewers, Nantucket, MA: Not much carbonation, orange pink color. Peach, strawberry and lemon pledge nose. “Very sour up front, seems like real fruit. Sourness dominates, could use more carbonation to balance.” “Tart start, then peachy flavor with cherry notes. Tartness a bit much.” 2.5 stars

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 June 2010 08:47

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