StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 18, 2006
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Hazed and dirty cherry-caramel in color with a frothy, grayish-tan wrung and a dabble of whipped crème in the middle as an island for the head. Spliced tart cherries baking in the sun and aromatically adhering to oak lead the nose. Lovely toasted coconut and hazelnuts parley with vanilla for a smooth smelling, decadent white chocolate truffle that’s been infused with juicy cherry cobbler and a touch of sherry as its boozy bonus. Remarkably balanced flavor profile makes this one of the more quaffable sour ales. Toasted coconut gets folded into cherry maple nut fudge with a decorative drizzle of a grenadine port sauce to impart a subtle tartness. Supple carbonation lets the sherry on oak take on a campfire s’more component, emitting a toasted marshmallow and graham flavor while cherry cordials substitute for the traditional chocolate stronghold. Juicy cranberries jive with juniper for an eloquent, tart and tamed sharpness amidst the oaken maple momentum. Mild rose hips drive home spontaneous pollination while a mild cherry gloss lines the mouth’s inner folds like tart cherry mince meat pie filling avec Disarenno and sherry.
ryan (3187) - Beltsville, Maryland, USA - OCT 17, 2006
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle via trade with Brigadier. Thanks Nathan. Pours a muddy brown with a reddish tint and a fizzy, off-white head that quickly fades to a cover. The aroma is sour pie cherries, caramel, some balsamic and lactic acid and a light cheesey funk. The flavor is slightly sweet with a pleasant tartness. Notes of oak, cheery pie, caramel, apple cider with a nice lactic tang. The mouthfeel is soft and smooth, but finishes a tad thin, with a touch of acidity.
buckybeer (666) - Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 16, 2006
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a hazy deep brown with faint head. The aroma is unlike anything I have recently smelled. Notes of sour, ripened, cherry, bourbon, oak. Decent carbonation with thin lacing. Flavor is a mix of sour cherries, a little malt and maybe a tad of cinnamon. Seems to get even better as it warms a little. Mine was chilled to 45 degrees. I would suggest about 50 degrees. I could not detect much of an alcohol taste. I wish I knew how much there was. This is a strange but excellent beer.
Mangino (1027) - Mississippi, USA - OCT 15, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
12oz Bottle- Murky brown color, no head. Let it sit for awhile on the advice of JCapriotti. Aroma is gorgeous, smells as good as any sour brown i’ve had. Flavor is awesome. everything is where its supposed to be, strong barrel almost whiskey flavor. Strange. I wonder what kind of barrel they used. Tasty stuff, cant wait to see what happens with age. HUGE potential for aging I think.
mrjaxson (242) - .08 Junction, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 15, 2006
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Really unusual. Scent of sour cherries--almost medicinal. Taste, however, is much more subtle. Surprisingly clean finish with just a hint of fruity aftertaste. I agree with others who have suggested extended breathing; last sips were more pleasing that first few. Bought it as a $1.99 single at Milwaukee’s Discount Liquor.
JCapriotti (1379) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 15, 2006
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Yeah, seriously let this thing breath at least 15 minutes or so in the glass. Good stuff after that. Maybe over time this thing will evolve a bit.
Anyway... Reddish brown, clear body.
Quite the mix of flavors. It is a very rounded sour cherry, nice balance between sweet and sour, vanilla, dry oak finish, some honey-soaked brandy in there too. I really dig this thing. I hate to compare, but its very close to the Rodenbach Alexander IMO.
To be continued...
tranum (34) - delafield, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 15, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: MAR 8, 2007 This beer was much like the unplugged cherry stout but has its own personality. The cherry flavor is not overwhelming just like the cherry stout. The taste was a little strange at first but after a few sips the sour taste and strong oak taste just added to this wonderful beer. I still think the cherry stout was a little better.
Brigadier (2610) - Northeastern Ohio, Ohio, USA - OCT 14, 2006
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
12 oz bottle
This was shared with malachi and hezron at a Friday tasting of several New Glarus beers. We did a side by side comparison with the Sour Brown. In my opinion this is what the Sour Brown was intended to be - with a nice balance of sweetness, tartness and fruit it has now become my favorite series in the Unplugged line.
Aroma / Appearance - A thin mocha colored head decorated the glass before sliding back into the bronze earth colored body. With mild carbonation and a little bit of lacing, this looked very nice sitting in my sample glass. Oak, sourness, tart cherries and a musky fruit aroma combined to form a wonderful nose. It was a little bit of an odd combination but it certainly lives up to the name ’Enigma’.
Flavor / Palate - Tartness is the first thing that hits the throat, coating it for a few seconds before beginning to fade. When it does it leaves traces of oak, caramel, nuttiness and some creaminess. Fruity undertones (primarily raspberries, strawberries and cherries) play out next along with a tart acidic mouthfeel. Towards the bottom of the bottle it reveals a bittersweet chocolate taste that sticks to the throat. This is very complex - let it sit for a few minutes between sips to completely enjoy the range of flavors it presents.
kmweaver (3200) - Petaluma, California, USA - OCT 13, 2006
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
12oz bottle courtesy of Monger. Thanks James! Pours a dark brown, slight tints of red and yellow at the edges, light head formation with poor retention and decent lacing. The aroma suggests whiskey - beautiful, balanced sour-mash whiskey with some acidity and funky cherries; a bit of uncharted territory here... You can also catch some of the oak and vanilla in the nose. Medium-to-full mouthfeel, showing a vanilla toastiness, oak wrapped around sour/tart cherries, (hints at a flemish sour influence), light acidity, similar base profile to their Unplugged Cherry Stout (esp. the overripe cherry character) except with a greatly improved malty core (instead of just oak and cherries) and a well-balanced sourness. As muzzlehatch noted, LET THIS SIT... once it breathes, it opens up into something else entirely. I was disappointed at the first sip, but give it a few minutes, ten minutes. Think of the children! Give it some time. Long, layered finish showing funked cherries, a sweet malty core, reserved tartness, and a hint of smoke. Another excellent, challenging beer from Dan Carey.
muzzlehatch (4424) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - OCT 12, 2006
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: MAY 29, 2008 12 oz bottle from Steve’s in Madison (Mineral Point Road, Oct 2006) sampled at cellar temperature from a Corsendonk glass. A smallish tan head decays rapidly atop the deep muddy caramel body....oaky caramel and funky brett combine with light piquant cherry essence and hints of oregano for subtle pleasures.....tartness dominates the body throughout the tasting, sour cherries and oaky sherry touches are the key with the muted yeast mostly adding complexity to the marvellously full body....sour apples and a bit of acrid smokiness/tobacco make for a lip-smacking but challenging finish....to me this is closer to the Sour Brown than to any of the other fruit beers, though I like it a bit better, the malt is fuller and I think it goes down easier. At the finish after about a third of the bottle, touches of bitter chocolate show up, as if we needed anything more to be assured of Dan Carey’s greatness....PLEASE NOTE I find that this beer takes longer than most to breathe; my appreciation (and rating) went up a lot more over the course of the bottle, slowly consumed, than it usually does. I’d personally recommend letting it sit in the glass 10 minutes before tasting. 8/4/9/4/17 4.2
(May 2008) bottle from same batch, 1.5 years of age. The funkiness has really developed in this, the nose is as cheesy and bacterially weird and wonderful as anything I can remember, while a mineralic quality (lime, iron) merely adds to the already considerable complexity towards the finish. The body has not thinned out at all though the carbonation is a touch diminished....truly a rare and wonderful beverage at this point, and nearly on the level of the ambrosial Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart. I wish I had more left....