FlacoAlto (3506) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 16, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JUN 15, 2010 Sampled on tap April 2010 @ ChurchKey, Washington DC
A pour from the bottle produces a thin, off-white colored head that sits on top of a murky, red colored beer that shows a clear amber hue in the light. The aroma has a tart, sort of tannic cranberry character to it as well as an earthy herbal note and a light mustiness. The aroma reminds me of hibiscus flowers, a definite berry note and red-zinger tea. Other aromatics of faint animal musk, a damp mustiness, definitely tart, earthy, with damp clay-celler notes and a nice, light funkiness. The aroma is definitely quite vinous smelling.
Cranberry notes are also found in the flavor along with a tannic, palate coating astringency and a musty, light funkiness. The beer tastes quite dry, but still manages to be quite fruity; notes of hibiscus tea and Macintosh apples are accentuated by a spicy carbonic bite. This is very light bodied, almost refreshing even (especially for a beer of this strength); this last is brought about due to the light body and the light tartness. Somehow this seems like a fruity, white-wine or perhaps even a dry Ros-Champagne. This is quite complex and interesting, refined even and much more quaffable than I had been expecting. It really does seem quite wine like in many ways. This is definitely a fantastic beer.
Sampled February 2008
Topped by a frothy, initially three-finger thick, lightly brown tinged, but mostly tan colored head. The beer is a hazy, ruddy, darkish amber color, but shows a hazy, reddish hued, amber color when held up to the light. The aroma is quit fruity smelling; notes of tart plum, berries and ripe apples are each distinctly noticeable. There is an interesting spice note here that is soft, but noticeable with a touch of ginger and some notes of lemon pepper. The end of the aroma has a toasty malt character and a certain musty, overripe fruit, woody, nuttiness.
Tart, quite dry and somehow light bodied despite a creamy mouthfeel. The beer is fairly well carbonated, but the viscousness of the beer seems to mitigate the ample carbonation quite well. The finish is lightly bittered from hops, but also has a dusty, light cocoa note to it and a bit of toasty grain character. Really though this beer is quite tart, this really accentuates a fruit character that reminds me of sour, ripe plums, a touch of tamarind and a touch of sour melon. Somehow, even though this is quite dry, this has a rich, caramelized, chewy middle to it, or at least something is contributing a similar richness.
This is quite an interesting beer, the cocoa is definitely quite subtle (if noticeable at all), but I really like the sourness that has taken hold in this beer. The sourness makes this quite light and drinkable, though it still has that certain viscous fullness to it. This is perhaps a touch one dimensional because of the dominant tartness, but the sourness is not overwhelming and I really like what it adds here.
JMFG (1585) - Florida, USA - JAN 26, 2008
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Poured a cloudy copper-amber color with a quickly receding head. Detect Brett on the aroma right away - a little spice also, but not much else. Very basic taste - sourness up front with a moderately malty and tart finish. Not a lot of complexity spice-wise and the cocoa is undetectable. Just decent.
JoeMcPhee (7671) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 22, 2008
2.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 9/20
Bottle at the Diamond. Amber coloured beer with lots of haze. Flavour is very strange, honey, herbs and some strange vegetal notes. Dusty and lightly funky/earthy. Tart and vinegary. I’d say Eugene’s description is pretty much bang-on, except that, unlike him, I don’t like drinking salad.
beastiefan2k (2108) - Lawrence (formely NYC), Kansas, USA - JAN 20, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
I exchanged my 1992 Goudenband for this beer that JoeMcPhee had in a 10.5oz flip top bottle at the Diamond in Brooklyn. It pours a dark red/orange and brown color with a very small head. Absolutely murky, thick, no light getting through, no clarity at all. Aroma is full of random plants and herbs, I cannot even began to try to describe which ones. All I know is there is no cocoa. There is some faint tartness and vinegar. Tastes like a funky salad and very easy to drink. I could just keep drinking this for hours.
SoLan (1550) - Florida, USA - JAN 20, 2008
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Courtesy jayg. Amber/orange/brown, small white head. Aroma of barn funk sourness, vinegar acidity, subtle spice. Same flavor. Lots of sourness, not much complexity. Medium body, balanced carbonation, dry finish. More of a sour ale than a spice/herb/vegetable. No detectable cocoa.
Floback (484) - Naples, Florida, USA - JAN 17, 2008
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Pours a copper/amber color with 1 inch of tan head that rapidly dissipates to a light brown rim. Drunk at room temperature. Funky aroma of horse blanket, citrus, and apple. Slightly sour with hints of cinnamon and a very peculiar taste that I can’t identify. This is supposed to be aged, but the body of flavor hints at something gone bad. High carbonation and medium body. This would be great if it wasn’t for the flavors that I can only describe in one word: expired. Disappointing, because I love this brewery.
bobaidan (481) - Southington, Connecticut, USA - JAN 10, 2008
2.5 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Pours an ugly brown color with chunks of muck and very little head. Aroma is cider and a hint of some spice I can’t quite put my finger on. Flavor is tart and that’s about it. There is a bit of a funk to this. No chocolate to be found anywhere. Not sure what they were going for here, but this isn’t very good.
Syd (920) - Waconia, Minnesota, USA - DEC 31, 2007
2.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 8/20
Flip top 33cl bottle pours a very cloudy amber with a medium sized head and minimal lace. The aroma is quite yeasty, spices, and floral. The flavor is sour, funky, acidic, perhaps off? No cocoa anywhere. I’m not sure what this is supposed to be. The bottle says an Amber Ale brewed with cocoa powder. I’m not seeing it. The palate is fizzy. I don’t like it.
SSSteve (3392) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 29, 2007
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
nice hazy orange color under a small white head. subdued aroma of citrus fruit. palate is sour and medium-light bodied. peachy with white grapes, lemon, sour tartness. not overly tart though. a good beer. i don’t notice any cocoa.
argo0 (10419) - Washington DC, USA - DEC 25, 2007
2.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 9/20
(33cl bottle) medium beige head atop murky copper body replete with yeast flecks. Aroma is moderately sweet, dandelion, some vinegar, dark fruit. Taste is medium sweet, vinegar sourness, grape, dandelion. Medium body, some creaminess, some acidity. Seems that I have a bad bottle.