FlacoAlto (3759) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 6, 2012
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
A steady pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a two finger thick, creamed amber tinged head that leaves a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass. The beer is a near black color that shows some bright, clear brown around the edges when held up to the light. As I pour this beer I smell the fruity red zinfandel barrel notes as well as a sort of apple like smell. Toasted oak notes meld with a toasted malt character and this is tied together by a solid tart smelling note that can suggest at cherries at times, though really smells more lactic influenced than anything. There is a hint of cheesy funkiness to this beer, that is perhaps brought out by some buttery oak notes coupled with the funky fermentation character; whatever the source, I like that this is not a totally “clean” sour beer, the touch of funk boosts the complexity of the aroma without overwhelming the other notes. The malt, is mostly present as a toasted, brown bread crust type thing, but there seems to be a hint of roast to this beer (I could be imagining it, though I will not when I taste it) and a nice chewy, raw, whole-grain medley type aroma. In the end the fermentation character plays the lead role, followed by supporting oak character that is closely followed by the chewy malt aromatics.
A prickly, light carbonation, couples with a comprehensive sourness that grips the palate from beginning, to lingeringly sour finish. The acidity is predominantly lactic in character and is quite pronounced. A touch or red wine, sort of berry, definite structure oak, and wine-grape tartness are accentuated by the lactic sourness. This beer is sour enough to make me pucker just a bit. I really like how the finish is quite dry and quite sour, yet still manages to see a tart-berry like fruitiness to it. There is a suggestion of chewiness to the front and middle of this beer that is hinted at from a touch of whole grain, toasted malt character; this is not quite as prominent as it was in the nose. There is also a touch of roasted malt character towards the finish that tells me my nose didn’t lie, it provides a burnt tartness in the finish (though this is overwhelmed by the lactic character) and a roasted / blackened grain note that plays a supporting role in this beer. A soft buttery note seems to be contributed more from the oak character than from any funkiness, though I think the latter plays a role here as well. The oak seems to contribute a texture and heft to this beer (though the malt likely contributes too) that helps keep this beer almost chewy. There is a supporting funkiness to this beer that comes out as it warms up; it contributes notes of phenolic, sort of musty, not really medicinal, slightly mushroom-like, with perhaps just a touch of muskiness and odorous funk.
Definitely a quite enjoyable beer and experience. I never know quite what to expect when I open one of these Avery Barrel Aged-Series beers, but this is certainly one that is quite nice. I really like how the Zinfandel Barrel character comes through in this beer, and the ample sourness from the bright lactic character plays really well with the other notes in this beer too. This was even more than I was expecting
illidurit (2124) - Petaluma, California, USA - JAN 4, 2012
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle courtesy of scray24, shared at the December iteration of the Santa Cruz tasting series. Pours dark brown with a tiny tan head. Solid sourness coupled with a really nice roast/cocoa character. Usually the sour + roasty thing doesn’t appeal to me but this is really really good. Very sour flavor with cocoa, full round red wine, and even some salted peanuts. Don’t ask me. It works.
kylefleeger (105) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - DEC 30, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Dark funky with a fruit flavor. dark and sweet. Plum flavor with great overall balance and flavor. Unique and amazing.
zizzybalubba (1392) - Elizabeth City, North Carolina, USA - DEC 26, 2011
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
12 oz. bottle from Argonaut Liquor in Denver, CO. Cola-like brown pour with a frothy khaki head. Aroma of lemon, zinfandel, and a slight detection of apple cider vinegar. Jaw-clinchingly sour taste with white wine and citrus immediately up front. The surprise is a noticeable sweet aftertaste that almost magically coats the tongue at the end. This causes the initial sour flavor to become somewhat muted. Overall this is a wonderful beer from Avery.
SamGamgee (2452) - down the whirlpool, California, USA - DEC 25, 2011
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
12ozs bottle. Black stuff. Lots of sour fruit with a good dose of wine and oak in the aroma. Slight tart chocolate flavor with a hight level of acidity and well-hidden alcohol. Vinous and fruity with a big oaky zin character. A little bit of peanut butter flavor. The roast doesn’t really get in the way of the acidity and it works pretty well. Cool stuff.
Beermogul (28) - USA - DEC 15, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
12 oz bottle. Pours a very dark red with very small head. Smells of sweet red wine, caramel, and choke cherries. Tastes tart, tannins, dark fruit caramel and fennel seed and again choke cherries. Full bodied, low carbonation. A very interesting sour, at times a little too overpowering on the palate.
pushkinwow (1966) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 11, 2011
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
12oz bottle thanks to adnielsen/Aaron. Dark brown with a creamy biege head. Tart and brett, tannins and grapes, oak, cherry, some balsamic. Very acidic and tart, moderate body, good carbonation, hints of funk and farmhouse, becomes quite dry, thins out a little bit at the end but doesn’t take too much away from what is a delicious beer.
Dfonorow (1352) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 6, 2011
3.1 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pour is dark murky brown with little to no head. Not much lacing at all. Aroma is of tart fruits, vinegar, and honey. Taste and body is on the sweeter side but the finish is pure sour ale. Some notes of green grapes, oak chips, and raisins. Some acidity throughout, alcohol is hidden well.
peteinSD (1336) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 28, 2011
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle kindly sent by Scott as an extra - thanks! Pours a dark, reddish brown with a quickly fading tan head. Aroma is a dark, flandersesque sour with cherry, some white wine notes, and a pleasant sweet tartness into the finish. Taste is strong, heavy cherry, sharply tart sour, a slight bit of white wine (but it is really overpowered by the cherry), and tart sweetness. This is probably one of the better sours I have had from Avery - a bit over the top but it does not comes across to me as rough and the body is fairly clean. Good sour.
madvike (2672) - Middleton, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 25, 2011
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle shared by Tooch4321...thanks Adam! - Pours deep rosy brown with a thin ring of light tan head. Tart as hell, with vinous notes, black cherry, oak, and a bit of balsamic vinegar. Taste is roughly the same, heavier on the oak with a bit of chocolate(?) and a lovely black cherry finish. Citrus tart on the long finish.Soft carbonation in the mouth. Yum.