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RATINGS: 103   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.51   SEASONAL: Special   IBU: 15   EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%
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We are very excited to announce the release of our first wild beer. The Velvet Hammer is a slightly tart belgian style ale weighing in around 8% abv. The base of this beer is our Phat Abbot Belgian Dubbel but the finished product bears no resemblance. We brewed the Dubbel last winter and inoculated it with a bit of Jackhammer Old Ale that has been aging for three years in an oak barrel inoculated with Hansens Gueuze. We then conditioned the dubbel for a couple of months in a serving tank before bottling it into 750s and conditioning it over the summer. The result is a medium-bodied sour ale with the vinous and sour fruit characteristics of a Flemish brown but with a sparking champagne-like effervescence. Due to the lively carbonation, this beer must be stored and served cold, uncorked slowly, and very gently decanted. The foam does not dissipate as rapidly as the head on a champagne but will subside after a few moments in the glass.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
rudolf (2324) - Buffalo, New York, USA - AUG 3, 2010
Bottle @ BCTC 2010. Brown, tan head. Nose is that of a nice brown ale along with more chocolate & some alcohol. Flavor is tart chocolate, a bit too bitter & lemony, alcohol. Meh.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
beastiefan2k (2276) - 2nd City (formely NYC & KS), Illinois, USA - JUL 5, 2009
750mL cork&wire bottle from a trade on BA. Another gusher here and of course the head is thick, sticky, and long lasting. I could see why the ratings are all over the place on this beer. First there isnít much sourness to it, the upside no nail polish either. Aroma is earthy and cooked cane sugar (burrowed from Tim). Slightly sweeter in the flavor with earthy and musky syrup. Alcohol comes through in the thick and bulky dark malts. Just a light lactic character to the finish. Has a full mouthfeel with a surprisingly average carbonation.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
scrizzz (2223) - Bothell, Washington, USA - MAR 26, 2009
Cider and Gin aroma. Soft muddy brown. Quickly tart green apple, finishes clean.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
ilovedarkbeer (2201) - Dallas, Texas, USA - FEB 6, 2009
Bottle thanks to bu11zeye. Pours a brown reddish color with a large creamy beige head. Good lacing. Nose is prunes, wood, cocoa nibs. Taste is chocolate, grapes, and cocoa powder. Moderate mouthfeel and a medium finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
bitbucket (2159) - Kirkland, Washington, USA - MAY 28, 2009
750. Thanks, SuzyGreenberg! Pours cloudy dark brown with a thick and lacy beige head. Light body and carbonation. Lightly sour fig and lemon aroma and taste.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
fordest (1961) - Santee/San Diego, California, USA - MAR 1, 2009
750 ml bottle at Woodshop. Brownish pour with smallish head. aromas were fruit and some tart. Flavor was a bit more sour. Sweet too. Not super sour but still pretty good.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - NOV 28, 2009
750mL bottle, courtesy of brewdan, poured into a tulip. The cork comes out with a loud pop and the foam starts running out the top before I can get it to a glass. The pour is a dark hazy brown with an enormous off-white head that shows excellent retention with a rocky cap hanging on for the duration. The aroma is lightly sour with some tart fruits and a hefty brown sugar sweetness. There are some caramel malts and Belgian yeast in the nose as well. The taste is a little more sour but itís still not overpoweringly tart with some sweet sugary fruits. The finish is dry and very vinous with an oaky character lingering after each sip. There is a hint of vinegar sourness on the palate as well. The mouthfeel is extremely lively, effervescent in fact, with tons of carbonation. It leads the medium body to feel almost light with all the bubbles. This is a very good sour and one that is extremely drinkable due to its subtle sourness. Iím a fan of dubbels as well, so the base sweetness made it more appealing to me.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
wetherel (1836) - Encinitas, California, USA - JAN 18, 2009
22oz bottle tried at Woodshop Quad from the sour king, WeeHeavySD. Dark brown color. Medium sourness. Leans dry. Huge foamy head. Hint of oxidation.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
otakuden (1783) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - AUG 4, 2009
Ever been asked that dreaded question, ďWhatís your favorite ?Ē I have, and it usually has to do with beer. Brewer, style, etc, but many enquiring minds want to know what constitutes Kristyn Lierís favorite beer. I am usually not able to give a satisfactory answer because variables such as time of day, season, mood, etc have a lot to do with what is my favorite beer at that moment. Over the last few years though I can say without a doubt that my palate leans heavily towards Belgium and her heavenly brews, and other worthwhile Belgian-style ales. Not that I enjoy being pigeon-holed, because I donít, but if nothing else over these years, I know myself. In the small country of Belgium, there are hundreds, if not thousands of breweries and an equally enormous diversity of beer. One thing they have in common is Quality and one fine example is the Bruin, a Belgian brown ale. Today I have a bit of an American twist on the classic Bruin with the Velvet Hammer, a Belgian-style Aged Sour Bruin from Arbor Brewing Company.

Deep, russet brown with darker hues bordering on black with a massive bulge of a head which is definitely not going anywhere. I have no doubt she will follow me down to the very last drop. Soft, densely packed bubbles give way to a soothing aroma of cherries, blueberries, and strawberries. A one-two punch of sweet and sour tells me that she is indeed a sour bruin as the oak comes through in fresh, earthen vanilla bean, vanilla root, and dry oak. A ghostly lactic presence shimmers into being, and then fades away just as eerily; mozzarella perhaps. It is always nigh impossible for a brew to live up to the potential of her nose, but then, a human has thousands more sensory organs in their nose versus the few 10,000 tastebuds on their tongue. Maybe it isnít so much that a brewís nose canít live up to her palate, but that our tongues cannot fully embrace her exuberant bounty. But I digress. As our lips meet, mine pucker in sour delight as tart fruits with an undercurrent of sour funk soak into my eager flesh. Lightly frothy, her effervescence bursts with a delicate creaminess, bringing back her lactic ghost. The power of her palate centers right on top of my tongue: tart, sour, creamy and oozing with freshly picked berries. Is that melted milk chocolate I see dancing with her wild berry housemates? Coming into our final moments together, soft, dry oak with a sprinkling of vanilla lingers in my breath, a suitable topping to a very sweet and sour berry experience.

Velvet Hammer is a most appropriate accolade for this Aged Sour Bruin from Arbor Brewing. Neither a beast nor a mouse, she instead balances a gentle touch with a no-holds-barred sour punch. I was a bit surprised by the exuberant presence of tart and sweet berries, but I enjoyed them far too much to be bothered. Besides, whatís a little innovation without a little chance, something the Belgians know all about.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
gkost (1714) - Tampa, Florida, USA - NOV 9, 2009
POurs a hazy brown. Nose is sweet sugars, malts, wood, vinegar. Flavor is semi sweet, belgian yeasts, bready, oaky, semi sour. Not too shabby.

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