FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 12, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
This beer is pretty well carbonated, it pours with a frothy three-finger thick tan head, that starts to leave a lacing pattern as it slowly, and falls back in a cratered rocky fashion. The beer is a hazy reddish-tinged amber color. The aroma is intoxicating, it is immediate as soon as I start pouring this beer; it is a mix of tart notes and fruit up front. As I go in for a deeper draught of the aroma I get a signature of Brett that is a bit horseblanket, and quite funky (especially if you linger over the aroma. The tartness is still here underneath the Brett character; notes of tamarind and tart plum are quite evident. The aroma is quite complex, and quite nice I could smell these beers for quite some time. Comparable to a Lambic in many ways but there is that balancing sweet note, which contributes to the fruitiness, and is not typically found in a bone dry Lambic. After a bit of time I start to pick up a fruity concentrated note that reminds me of sweet strawberries and kiwis; Interesting.
The beer has some body to it, and an astringent woody/ tannic note that definitely make one think of the barrels that this was fermented in (or perhaps some of it is from the chestnuts). It only has a light sweetness to it, but it is enough to play up fruity notes of apples and plums. The beer is spicy with a nice carbonation note in combination with some spicy oak notes and sharp acidity. It is notable that the acidity is almost subtle here, I am not saying that it is not here, because it is definitely tart, but it is so well integrated with the rest of the flavors. The spices that were used are also quite subtle, in fact I can’t even pick any of them out, which in my mind is about perfect, I like the integrated character that spices add, but don’t like them to be individually noticeable. The Brettanomyces is here in the flavor, but not nearly as noticeable as it was in the aroma. This really works for this beer, because the Brett does not dominate the flavor profile; it contributes an underlying funkiness that sort of wraps around and accentuates the other characteristics found in this beer. As time goes on this beer picks up a wonderful creaminess to it, which really brings the mouthfeel to another level.
My final word on this beer is that it is so well integrated, and so well balanced. The wood character, the tartness, the funky notes, the fruit character and everything else just combines to form a really nice drinking, complex brew. Once again Ron has created a masterful brew, so far he is firing on all cylinders and I still have 5 more of these to go.
willblake (2654) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - JAN 31, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: APR 28, 2008 01.31.06 750ml bottle thanks to Schroppfy. The beer as it rests in the tulip globe glows as a November sunrise, blazing, fiery, and a smoky haze. The head is lasting, creamy, the color of Mantoloking sand. Aromas greet the observer without prodding as wafting but attenuated waves of succulent floral, misty woodlands, toasted sage, and dried citrus potpourri come quickly forward. The palate is delighted with this perfect snapshot of the season and I am struck with glee. Flavors and aromas meld to bring a sense of a damp oak forest in autumn - a mossy streamside with rotting leaves, mineral rich soil, and musty, buttery chestnuts gathered in a wicker basket. More savory spice emerges with time and temperature as a revelation of corriander and spicy yeast notes comes to the fore. A pleasant mix of tart fruits (grape), mild astringency (apple, floral), miniscule but necessary sourness, and perfume throughout. I would wish only for a somewhat firmer body, less smooth and perhaps more astringent. If Orval brewed an autumn beer, it might just be this. Excellent.
20070303 vertical with 05 and 06 versions. The 05 had great development, melding of hops and brett. Finish has smoothed out. The 06 was bright, hoppy, and fun. Of the group, I was the only one who preferred the younger.
jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - JAN 25, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Big gracious thanks to schroppfy for the bottle. Ron Jeffries is doing wonderful things up there in the cozy town of Dexter, MI and this autumn seasonal is another testament to that fact. It looks fantabulous in the glass. Lightly murky amber with a lovely stark white head that leaves a great wake of lace as it descends the glass. The nose is funky, spicy fruit up front. As it opens up I get more barnyard and ripe fruits (apricot and chestnut). The flavor exhibits wood and some tannins but the meshing of funk and spice is the standout here. The palate is dry, prickly and fully attentuated. The chestnuts come in after the swallow and waft through my sinuses as an earthy nuttiness. Damn good stuff.
CaptainCougar (7132) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - JAN 22, 2006
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Sampled at the Milwaukee YEHa!05 courtesy of Silphium: Pours a transparent copper orange color with a thin lightly-lacing white head. Rich, complex Belgian yeasty and oaky, earthy aroma has a touch of floral character. Body starts lightly sweet, balanced with a touch of toasty caramel and oaky tartness toward a slightly thinner, smooth finish. Very authentic and well-brewed.
Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - JAN 20, 2006
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Another beer in which my review serves no justice. Muddy orange with huge white head, tiny bubble carbonation. Head gently fades to creamy film. Great lacing. Great sour/tart character in the nose. Mostly orange and cherry. Some floral notes with yeasty/musty farmhouse funk. Initial flavor very sweet, buttery caramel/chestnut combination. Turns to floral flavors and lambic/brett like sourness, with lots of orange zest. Maybe JP/Ronís barrels have bacteria setting in now? I love it!!! Finishes sweet, sour and somewhat dry. Donít really get much spice unless itís cardomom? maybe paradise? Great mouthfeel, starts lively and finishes creamy. Quickly becoming my daily drinker.
BobbyW3363 (154) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JAN 10, 2006
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Appearance is really nice looking. Hazy deep amber with a fairly large white head of tiny bubbles. Aroma is yeasty, with tart notes of cherry. Flavor is predominantly tart, more fruity cherry flavors, followed by the chestnut and grain flavors that save the flavor from being too sour. Some notes of oak and spice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, lightly carbonated, with a moderately bitter, spiced finish. I didn;t really like this at first because of the unexpected tartness, but it grew on me towards the end. A decent brew, but not really my thing.
jsquire (3551) - St. Marys, Ohio, USA - JAN 7, 2006
3.1 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
from the bottle at Styles place. Light amber color with a fluffy white head. The nose has orange and wood and a hint of the sour twinge that makes my sour beer warning hairs stand on end. As it warms, it gets more and more funky. Lots of fruity peach, orange, and sour apple notes, with what Iíve come to associate with the "horseblanket" muskyness of some Belgians. Noticable wood in the flavor profile. Not an unapproachable beer, but still not something that the average beer palate will enjoy.
SuIIy (1983) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - JAN 7, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
750ml bottle. Pours a bright amber color with a small off white head. Nose is very spicy, coriander, light sweetness, some pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Taste is once again a nice belgian like spiciness. Has some light caramel notes, more coriander and nutmeg to it.
ryan (3186) - Beltsville, Maryland, USA - JAN 6, 2006
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: MAR 7, 2008 Batch 1. Pours amber with big, creamy, white head. Mostly lasting, nice lacing. Aroma is apricots and oranges with lots of cobwebs and funk. The flavor is caramel, citrus, wood, hay, funk and spice. The finish is dry, tart, and very refreshing. Mouthfeel is light and lively. Great stuff.
jtw (1111) - farmington, Michigan, USA - JAN 4, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: FEB 10, 2006 750 mL bottle. somewhat tart aroma floats above a sponge-cake-like head, and some fruit and spice shine through as well. no chestnut in the aroma, but there is definitely a nutty/woody flavor hidden behind the cinnamon and clove and yeast flavors which dominate. only 6.1%? itís nice and sticky and warming - easily my favorite jolly pumpkin beer so far. cheers to this new brewery!