FlacoAlto (4100) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUN 20, 2009
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Sampled June 2009
A solid, though not aggressive, pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet Tulip produces an almost four-finger thick, nicely tan colored head. The head slowly subsides with a rocky texture and leaves a nice lacing pattern on the sides of my glass. The beer is a burnished, dark amber, red tinged color that shows a hazy’ish, light cranberry red hue when held up to the light. Even as I pour this I get a nice scent of Brettanomyces funk that is quite inviting. Big lactic sourness mixes with sharp notes of urea, musk and phenolic soaked musty cotton. The aroma is actually quite Gueuze like, and I don’t mean just any Gueuze, but a good, solidly funky example whose aroma will keep my quite happily occupied for quite some time. A background of spicy oak, a woody mushroom wildness as well as some freshly crushed grain aromatics, a nice grassy / dried hay component are also quite prominent if you spend some time exploring the nuances. I like how funky this is, it really has a vibrant character to it; a fine mix of butyric acid and urea type notes provide a strong, musky note that any Lambic lover should crave.
Bracingly tart, which I was ready for based on the nose, this beer makes my mouth pucker up quite nicely. The beer is fairly light bodied, and if not for the aggressive lactic sourness, this would be as quaffable as water. While the sourness is nice and hard, it is not too much for this lover of hard-Lambics. The body is also not thin as it has a tannic structure from the oak as well as certain slickness from the lactic acid that provides just enough body. This is well carbonated underneath the acidity, which contributes an amply prickly sensation as well as boosting the peppery finish. While the beer has a fair amount of color to it, it doesn’t have much to it that reminds me of the more malty Flemish Sours. In fact the flavor once again reinforces the Lambic / Gueuze qualities that I noticed in the nose. A touch of dried grass, and freshly crushed grain husk flavors can be found in the finish at times, but overall the fresh malt contribution is quite subtle here. There is perhaps a touch of acetic acidity here, but it is very soft (especially considering I was expecting much more from the New Belgium Barrels), this is really much more lactic in character and is a big departure from the bottles of La Folie that I have had over the years. Again, the acid balance is nicely in line with a Gueuze, but there is just enough acetic character to provide a round fruitiness to the beer that can just remind one of a wine-vinegar.
Enough focus on the acidity, there is also a ton of funkiness to this brew. Notes of urea are found throughout the flavor profile and there is a huge, musky, dried sweat soaked leather, a woody & phenolic mushroom character, . There is also a substantial tannic note here that even coats the teeth a bit, it is wrapped up in a solid oak character that plays a supporting role in this beer. The oak provides a soft spicy note, and a solid wood-chip flavor. With all the acidity the beer comes off as tasting bone dry. At times I find myself noticing a nice fruitiness in the middle of this beer, especially as it warms up; it is wrapped up in the vinegar notes and provides a touch of cherry, some sour plum and even a touch of something that reminds me of a dry, rosé Champagne as well as evoking a suggestion of fruity sweetness. The warmer this becomes, the more the fruitiness gets accented.
I am quite impressed how close this beer is to a Lambic. In fact, when this beer is in the low to mid 50ºF / low 10ºC this is the closest I have ever had to a Lambic outside of Belgium, and I am really digging this beer. Warmth does bring out a touch more acetic character and fruitiness, but nothing necessarily outside the range of a Lambic. This really is just a fantastic beer, one which I definitely wish I had quite a bit more of in the cellar. I am really enjoying the ample Brettanomyces presence and how it pairs with the solid sourness. In the end this is a very tasty beer that achieves an incredible balance between the various components of it’s flavors and aromas.
bitbucket (2164) - Kirkland, Washington, USA - JUN 16, 2009
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at Bottleworks. Pours cloudy dark copper with a lacy white head. Sour cherry lemon aroma. Light body and prickly medium carbonation. Tart lemony funky sour taste with underlying bread and fruit. I wish I could have snagged a couple bottles of this!
jkwalking05 (4449) - Arlington, Texas, USA - JUN 5, 2009
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle thanks to AmEricanbrew. Cloudy orange in color with a decent off-white head. Aroma is sour and funky with lots of fruit and wood. Taste is sour well carbonated and dry.
goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - MAY 28, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Poured a hazy amber color with an off-white head. Tart aroma with some lemon notes and light leather. The flavor was also tart and citrusy with some acidity in the throat. Semi-dry finish with a light body. Very tasty.
Rciesla (5499) - Exit 15W, New Jersey, USA - MAY 25, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Pours a honey orange body with an off white head. Tart balsamic vinegar and wild yeast. Chewy cherry pit and skin with a light citrus accent. Sour chewy fruit, this is delicious and less acidic than la folie.
BrianK (200) - Livingston, New Jersey, USA - MAY 24, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Shared by Rciesla. This reminds me a little of a better version of La Folie. Very good. Excellant flavor. Nice aroma. Nice Flanders Red.
JK (5418) - St. Louis Park, Minnesota, USA - MAY 19, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Very nice, acidic aroma. In the Flanders Red style. Tons of yeast in this beer, both in the aroma and flavor. Cloudy, dark orange color. Fruit, some balsamic, and very good, sour flavor. Comparable to La Folie for sourness.
BrewDad (5274) - Olympia, Washington, USA - MAY 18, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pint – Bottleworks – Seattle, WA
Aroma: Big sour aroma with lots of Belgian yeast.
Appearance: Light amber in color, clear with a thin head.
Flavor: SOUR holy cow Batman this was sour. A huge beer that in time is going to settle down and become a true classic.
Palate: Dry Sweet Sour finish, with a Good Mouthfeel.
Overall: This was truly the most sour beer I have ever had in my life. It was also very drinkable just an awesome brew. To the Matt’s here to another 10.
3fourths (8888) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAY 18, 2009
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Draft pour @ Brouwer’s Sour Fest 2009. Cloud dark copper brown body, somewhat muddy/dirty in appearance. Full on acetic nose, the Love character is so easily evident, the woody/nutty apple cider vinegar acetic acid, wonderful aroma. Salty, peppery, spicy, acetic. Bready, muddy, frothy, soft carbonation. Finishes prickly and spritzy. Seems like a dirtier version of La Folie/Love. Good but not great.
waolsen (1375) - Littleton, Colorado, USA - MAY 17, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
bottle. thanks geoff. tasted side by side with a standard La Folie. hazy copper pour. aroma of brett, light sour apple. well balanced. funkier and heavier than La Folie. very well rounded. awesome.