SoLan (1550) - Florida, USA - AUG 8, 2005
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
2005. Dark brown/ruby. Small, bubbly, tan head hisses as it quickly disappears. Danger. Sour yeast, dark berry undertones, and a bit of must in the aroma. Cognac, vanilla, yeast, sour berries, oak- complex flavor. Medium/full body, nice level of carbonation. Dry finish. Aftertaste reinforces the cognac character and sour flavor. Beautiful beer.
redlight (2289) - Winter Park, Florida, USA - AUG 7, 2005
3.1 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
smells oaky. palate is acidic. tastes sour, some berry, acidic, vinegar. very oaky finish.
FlacoAlto (3450) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 4, 2005
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: AUG 17, 2005 Bottled in 2005, 750ml USA release, sampled August 2005
Pours a lightly hazy deep amber-ruby color with a three finger thick, frothy light brown colored head. From afar the noses has a note of balsamic like vinegar. As I go in for a deeper draught of the aroma I get a funky, musty character that reminds me of old, musty cellars, and wet, slightly moldy blankets. There is also notes of sour cherry with hints of raisins, prunes and figs as well. The dominant sense that I get from the aroma is that of a fruity vinegar, it is not hard or so funky like many Lambics, just nicely so.
The beer is quite full bodied as it first hits my mouth, it sticks to and coats my mouth, yet is not really sweet (nothing like the sweetness of a Rodenbach Grand Cru). The beer has a gripping tannic astringency as well that helps to accentuate the mouth coating sensation. Wow the body on this is almost thick and chewy, more something I would expect to find in an Imperial Stout. The beer is definitely sour with acetic acid being the dominant form, though just barely as there is definitely lactic acid here as well. It is a really nice mix of sourness for this type of beer. The flavors remind me of (or evoke thoughts of) cherry pits, balsamic vinegar, chewy toffee, dusty cobwebs, tobacco and tannic oak.
What an absolutely exquisite brew, this has been done incredibly well. I was half expecting this to not live up to the hype, but I am thoroughly enjoying this beer and absolutely wishing that I had a lot more of it. All of the flavors in this beer are in such an harmonious balance, each flavor melds with and into the others making a complex satisfying whole. This beer combines a great sourness with a bit of earthy funkiness and lots of chewy malt notes all together to form a splendid tipple. Quite Burgundian indeed, this overtakes any Rodenbach product that I have had from the last 15 years.
cb (810) - Roeland Park, Kansas, USA - AUG 2, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Aroma of apples and brown sugar sloshed over wine vinegar, with some tangy dark cherry mixed in. Clotty, lasting, beautiful head. Delicate woody flavor, pears and balanced astringency. Love the slightly sweet finish with yeasty notes and a hint of caramel. IMO, gives La Folie a run for its money.
StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 1, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Nice murky appearance and medium brown in color with some grey galaxy wisps for the head. Aroma is sherry, cognac, Cointreau, orange peel and red currant. Quite a fragrant little number and outright in its intent to sour. Oaken elements and sherry tartness peel away to showcase souring complexities. Intense souring oranges and black cherries, sweetened with some currant currents. Titters on the palate, souring and then sweetening. Finishes like orange liquor with a lingering oaken smoothness, reminding me of what I enjoyed most about this beer.
Rastacouere (6044) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 29, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: MAR 4, 2006 Purple Label 750mL. Marvellous burgundy pour, beautiful light chocolate head, deep. Charming oak nose, chocolate soaked cherries gets in the path of the assertive leafy, branches woodiness. Clean fermentation, no apparent spiciness. Very vinous with a broad arrange of fruit touched, going from the berries to the grapes and pineapple. Incredible sweet and tart interplays transform your mouth into a carry-on euphoria state. Candyish at first, but quickly turning into a huge tart bite, we’re talking La Folie tart and maybe more. Huge lactic and acetic character, sharp balanced wood flavors, delicate cherry find their way, fleshy, still fresh. Hidden alcohol, stupendous and flawless balance, evoluting flavor development with bricks over bricks building a wall to perfection. Moderate carbonation level, lasting glorious aftertaste, medium bodied, sharp tart finish. Delicious and up there with the greatest oud bruins.
TAR (2346) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - JUL 28, 2005
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Auburn in color. Dense off-white froth. Small rocks form as it settles. Musty stone, iron, medicine, red licorice, and sun-dried cherry aromatics. Beautifully integrated earthy husk whiff. Lush, palate filling carbonation. Quite dense. Sharply sour cherry-flavored explosion with secondary notes of shoe polish and strident medicine. Zingy, irony, and well rounded. Sassy brett pairs up with the pristinely attenuated body to prolong the tartness. Lurking, complementary mineral harshness and firm, but dainty, cedar. Finespun, understated oak-derived tannins mesh effortlessly with the brett laced briskness whilst brightly tart sour cherries continue to ride an earthy husk and clingy medicinal wave. Light candied malt sweetness enhances the acidity. Finishes moistly full, but equally dry with a low-toned woody graze amid invigorating aniseed and cedar exhales, as earthy husks deflect the ensuing leather and fully sustained acetic-tinged tartness. Absolutely stunning. If the aroma, alone, doesn’t inspire you, nothing will. Note: Although the malt doesn’t really thrive until it warms up, the body does become less dense and the acidity declines as it warms, so I recommend drinking this heavily chilled.
matta (1140) - Tampa, Florida, USA - JUL 26, 2005
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
There was no bluster when Shelton said that they believed to have found one of the best Sour Red’s in the world!
The beers packaging is beautiful… and then I find that the fluid within is a blessing from the gods! I must make an attempt at description…. as any fine disciple would do!
The body is crimson with edges of glowing garnet. The head is rocky with a natural khaki existence. Boldly sour yet arousingly sweet aromas bite at my nose… my olfactory is at attention! Vinous flavors of sour cherries lay within the depth of the oak. Mosaic flavors of fruits are radiant: green apple, key lime, cumquat and pineapple induce the supernatural. The darkened tanned crust from raspberry pie. Fresh grape juice melded with oaked balsamic vinegar…. cracked black pepper corn… where does the mysterious bitter sweetness come from…. Is this Bordeaux blended with Gueuze? The depth.. notes of leather from a worn horse saddle… a tray of rotting blackberries… it’s so tasty that it’s almost contrived! The palate is oily yet leaves a bittering sweet and sour burst in at the finish… Sensational! A most Marvelous beer... the beer of My dreams! I can’t wait for the circumstance to open another bottle! I will wait everyday in anticipation! My New Favorite Beer!!!!
-- I become such a tool when it comes to good beer!
TheBeerGod (4632) - Newport News, Virginia, USA - JUL 24, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. Courtesy of ClarkVV!! Bottled in 2005. Opaque ruby with a foamy khaki colored head. Nose is knockout! Sour fruit, wood, balsamic vinegar, mild earthy notes, damp basement, and an almost Sour Patch Kid candy-like note. There’s a mild sweetness that conjures that thought. Taste is very tart and bordering on Cantillon sour. Mild sugar notes, wood, citrus fruits, faint yeast notes, lighter vinaigrette dressing, sour berries and thinned lactic sourness (watery sour milk). Body is tart and acidic and Sahara desert dry. Mild carbonation feel. Light-medium overall. Finishes with bigger tart fruits, light yeast, wood, lighter earthiness and balsamic notes. A phenomenal Flemish sour. More stuff from Italy should be this good.
jeffc666 (1984) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - JUL 20, 2005
4.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Big thanks to jimmack04 for the bottle via our recent trade. <br/ ><br/ >It is funny when you think about it; I read a web site on the internet(s) that is all about beer. And on this site there are a multitude of people that will gladly send you a bottle of something that you yearn to try in exchange for a bottle of something that they in turn yearn to try. My most recent hankering was for this strange beer from Italy. A Sour Flanders style ale from Italy?!? Seriously?!!!? Yes indeed! My favorite style, if forced to pick one, waffles from Barley Wine to Gueuze to Flemish Sour and back again. It is mainly a seasonal affair. Well it looks as if it is time to iterate from position 2 to 3 (or 1 to 2 if you are a programmer geek). <br/ >
This beer looks so damn fine in the glass. Murky brown red with one of the finest heads I have seen. It starts out quite large then whittles down to a small light tan sheet that lasts forever. The lacing is so lovely. The aroma is nice but neither huge nor terribly complex. Vinegar, cherries, light sourness, and some spicy yeast. Onto the flavor, wow this is where things really pick up. For the complexity that is lacking in the aroma the flavor makes up for it in spades: a huge explosion of tart cherry, balsamic vinegar, wood, tobacco, even some cocoa. The sourness is perfect and it is one of the most refreshing beers I have had. Lovely palate: medium textured, mostly attenuated but some sweetness to keep things moving. <br/ >
The comparisons to La Foile or Rodenbach are inevitable. For me La Foile is one of the best beers I have ever had. The Rodenbach Grand Cru is good but killing yeast outside of one’s gullet is a sin. This one deserves to be in that company but falls a tad short of the La Foile, especially in the aroma. I am just not picking up the complexities that others have mentioned.
<br/ > Postscript: I find it encouraging that some of the best beers of this style in the world are brewed in the US and Italy. Maybe we will start seeing more examples. Fingers crossed.
<br/ > Postscript Postscript: If you do not like sour beer then either: 1) Don’t bother with this beer or 2) Open your mind and try it. Lots of people find bitter flavors very offensive but yet learn to love lupulin.