arrogantb (1402) - Denver, Colorado, USA - MAR 3, 2009
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
$22 750ml bottle. Red-brown color with almost no head yet it feels fizzy in my mouth. The smell is really quite interesting but subtle. Tobacco, chocolate, barrel, some brett, jam. The flavor is tart, sweet, hmmm... good, but not amazing like Deviation or the other RR barrel-aged beers.
Serving type: bottle
Reviewed on: 02-28-2009 04:13:16
darkguardian (725) - Florida, USA - MAR 3, 2009
4.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
22oz bottle. This is a very special beer to me because I never expected that I would love this as much as I did. I mean I knew I would like it as I tend to like all Russian River stuff but this beer is in a class all its own and it marks 2 firsts for me, my first score above 4.8 and my first time rating an overall impression of 20. Pours a darkish red remiscent of a fine wine with a small quickly collapsing head. Lovely color. The head releases a intoxicating aroma of black currants, oak, wine and sourness (subdued). However after the head collapses which happens quickly this aroma goes away and some of the complexity is lost, the lone blemish on this astonishing beer. The flavor profile is simply amazing. Oaky sourness opens up but remains tart and not acidic nor balsamic, its a very balanced sourness. Alcohol is non existant, making this dangerously easy to drink. Like a fine with moderate acidity and balanced tartness. A slow oaky finished followed by absolutely mind blowing notes of black currant and cherry skins. This beer is a marvel. I had this at a tasting of about 10 people. Everyone agreed this was the best of the night even though only 3 of us like sours and several of them hate them. This is a very accesible sour ale. And this beer was up against class competition in Port Old Viscoscity and Dark Island Reserve. This one blew everyone’s minds.
beerinmarch (2830) - Washington, USA - MAR 1, 2009
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
On tap pours dark red with a small white head that diminishes quickly. Sort of looks like wine after the head settles. The bottled version had more carbonation producing a stronger head and more acidity. One tap the beer was a bit more mellow, allowing more of the currant flavor to come through. Dry and acidic with the sourness. Oak comes though mostly in the dryness, but softly woody and earthy in the finish. Seems like the currants add most of the sweetness to this beer. I slightly prefer the draught version of this I had, it seems to be a touch more mellow and the acidity wasn’t as sharp, but both were really top notch.
DrHomolka (761) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAR 1, 2009
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
750ml, batch 001x4. Pours a muddy, very dark red/brown with a small but somewhat sustained off-white head. Aroma shows huge oak, mild funk and strong fruit. The oak is very strong, certainly the strongest presence I’ve encountered in a RR barrel aged beer. It borders on overdone but thankfully sits right on the edge without going over. Oak reminds me of a Scotch or Irish whiskey. Funk is semi-mild for a RR sour, certainly present, some Brett noticeable but acetic and lactic acid is somewhat tame. Fruit is plum and subtle sour cherry, quite vinous but I don’t get much wine in the nose. I don’t know what currants smell like so who knows if they’re noticeable.
Flavor is nicely tart, not as sour as something like Supplication or Temptation, yet. Fruitiness is strong and pleasant. Dry finish. The wine really comes out in the flavor in a good way. This is a nice beer. Overall this beer reminds me A LOT of Oerbier reserve. The appearance, aroma and taste are all right in that ballpark. So close really that a blind tasting without knowing what this is would make me think this was that beer. I think this beer will get better with age. Some flavor melding, souring, and milding oak would improve this beer. I don’t like this as much as Supplication or probably even Temptation but this is quality.
Schultsc (572) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 1, 2009
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAR 18, 2009 On tap at the brewpub in Santa Rosa. Clear, dark reddish brown-bronze with a superfine, almost non-existant off-white head. A dark garnet highlight might appear when the light hits it right. The aroma first comes across as dark sour fruit with a sweet grapeyness to it. Earthy and woody undertones emerge,combined with a softly tannic vionous character. The currants come through, not directly, but as a general fruity sweet-tartness that adds another layer to the already enormous complexity present here. The flavor begins with prominient yet restrained sourness in the attack that leads into a deep, multi-layered fruit profile that is surrounded by wonderful secondary fermentation flavors, barrel-aged oxidadtion notes, and subtle oak influences. The body is amazingly bright and refreshing and completely hides the alcohol. Its force is instead delivered through the amazing variety of sensations on the palate--good weight, bright sourness, pure sweet fruit, dark wood and earth. It is simultaneously juicy, rounded, edgy, firm, and voluptuous. The is one of the most amazing beers I’ve ever tasted.
TAR (2518) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - MAR 1, 2009
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Batch 001X2: Garnet. Voluminous dirty-white head condenses into a tight steadfast cream. Cohesive fusion of raspberry, red licorice, bright cabernet and plastery yeast aromatics. Fairly sherbety with a dab of iron, leather, medicine, airy phenols and tobacco. Nary a whisper of alcohol. Densely carbonated. Gentle sting of alcohol briefly quells the initial irony-laden tartness. Quite hollow and airy at the center, with the snappy brett-derived phenols and gritty-iron-clasp displacing the curiously ghostlike malt. Clean yet merely suggestive pale malts take on some strawlike bounce toward the finish, but fail to impart any substantial heft or depth along the way. Fairly simplistic due to the prevalent iron-tinged lacto twang and nonexistent malt sweetness. Juicy smack of currants dovetails with the raspy iron and coarse mineralic bite, though due to the rampant, unchecked tartness, the fruit character is largely reminiscent of dried strawberries, unripe plums and peaches rather than boasting a deep, fresh-picked succulence. Oak graces the palate with a dusty dryness, but is otherwise muted. Steadily wavering notes of Band-Aid and crunchy phenolics succumb to the pervasive lacto twang and faint medicine. Closes with a fluffy dollop of pale malt, though with a slightly clashing tart and gritty mixture of iron, medicine, leather, minerals and unripe fruit. Darn, was really hoping the bottle conditioning would impart additional nuance and send this into the realm of otherworldliness. I find this to be marginally superior – namely in mouthfeel and appearance – to the draft version I tasted six months ago. While this is certainly skillfully crafted and refined, as are all of Vinnie’s bottled creations, this is in dire need of some soft, full, sweetish malts to both complement the pale malts while cushioning the mineralic briskness, slight astringency and one-dimensional acidity.
markwise (4545) - North of Tampa, Florida, USA - FEB 28, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks fogdog for the share. Pours red-brown with an off-white head. Nose is vinegar, reminiscent of Duchess de Bourgone, dark cherries, and spice. Flavor is vinegar, funk, dark cherry, dark fruit, plum, and tart sour cherries. Very tart, excellent.
VikingHammer (506) - Lynnfield, Massachusetts, USA - FEB 27, 2009
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thanks to John C in a trade.Pours a dark red with a small beige head. The head diminished quickly. The aroma was full of sour cassis with strong alcohol notes. There was also some wood present. I really enjoyed the aroma. It was medium bodied with a wonderful sourness. Quite nice on the palate. Overall a really nice beer.
gunhaver (1030) - Tampa, Florida, USA - FEB 26, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Rating #800. Bottle, courtesy fogdog. Dark brandy red pour, white film of lacing sheen on the glass, and no head. Nose starts sweet, with dark plums and cherries, big tart and brown sugar, with some spicy cider notes that blend quite well. Flavor has lots of dark fruit, plum, apricot, sweet full finish of tart apples and other crisp notes. The oak gives everything a nice frothy shower of flavor. Very balanced, full-bodied, delicious, and really just another fine example of a world class beer from Russian River. They can do no wrong.
StefanSD (2191) - Lakeside, California, USA - FEB 26, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
750 ml bottle from Freddy. Pours a murky amber-brown with a small beige head that quickly dissipates. The aroma is strong with berries, wine, spicy oak, and funk. The flavor is complex with sour cherry pits, berries, lots of oak, red wine(merlot or cab), vanilla and caramel. The mouthfeel is silky smooth with lively carbonation. The finish is long and dry with lingering complex tart flavors. Overall: This is an impressive sour, but its really not worth the high price tag; a good beer, but a poor value.