FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUL 26, 2008
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Batch 005; Sampled July 2008
An average pour still manages to produce a four-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head into my large Tripel Karmeliet glass. As the head slowly recedes it forms a mesa that sits in the middle of my glass and slopes down to meat the sides of the glass where ample lacing patterns are left sticking to the walls. Amazingly enough, despite slowly working my way through this beer, the head never has anything less than a full covering of white froth. The beer is a clear, amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, bright, lightly orange tinged, full gold color when held up to the light. The aroma starts with a blast of expressive fruit notes; these are a mix of ripe pear, honeydew and golden raisins. Other fresh aromatics of honeysuckle, sweet flower nectar, and wild flower honey also add the sweeter smelling notes in the aroma. A backdrop of spiciness is here though; substantial enough to anchor this beer solidly I can smell notes of bergamot, white pepper, piquant ginger, light clove and some sharp, though light, herbal notes. Hints of crushed saltine crackers and crushed malt are just noticeable if you really dig for them. This is a fantastically expressive aroma for a smaller beer like this; I could go on just smelling this for minutes on end.
Sweet tasting up front, as much from fruity esters as any actual sweet malt sugars. The beer is actually quite light and quite dry, but the sweetness really is accentuated by other flavor components other than residual sugars left in the beer. While sweet and fruity up front this finishes quite dry; both a noticeable hop bitterness and a spicy, almost astringent, piquant spice character helps to significantly dry the finish out. Fruit flavors of spicy grapes, honeydew, super-ripe pear as well as perfectly sweet, wild flower nectar are offset by spicy notes of pepper, dried ginger, spicy higher alcohols, sharp clove, . This is light bodied, but definitely has some heft to it that keeps this clinging a bit to the palate. An ample carbonation offsets this as it scrubs the palate with a peppery carbonic bite.
This manages to pull off a huge presence in both nose and palate, despite being a pretty easy drinking, lighter brew. A deep complexity manages to be eminently well integrated; this is a perfect beer for those who want to contemplate the intricacies of their beer as well as those who just want an incredibly solid, great tasting beer to session a couple of. A second pour of this beer accents a touch of yeastiness in the nose that seems to temper the fruit notes a bit with some raw dough aromas. This really is just a fantastic interplay between fruity esters, piquant spiciness and quaffability.
Wow, I knew this should be good, but I can’t believe how good this really is. I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as the Brett-laden batch 001, but I might even like this one more. A fantastically tasty creation; I am continuously wowed by Vinnie’s craftsmanship and ability to achieve such well integrated, balanced beers. Russian River seems to operate on another plane of existence than the other American brewers.
padrefan98 (854) - (San Diego) Santee, California, USA - JUL 22, 2008
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle purchased from Russian River via internet order. Thank you RR for the chance to buy. A very nice Belgian ale. I love the lower ABV.
BMan1113VR (7880) - Los Angeles, California, USA - JUL 21, 2008
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: OCT 10, 2010 Batch 005 (5.65%). Pours a clear gold body with a small, quickly vanishing white head. Aroma of apricots, nectarines, pear, clove, coriander and honey. Taste of light fruits, coriander, and a malty bitterness. Slightly creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation. Not my favorite beer from RR (is this a similar style to Doree?).
Batch 008 (5.15%). Pours with a hazy, very pale yellow body and a large white head. In my Bruery snifter it looks a lot like their berliner. Aromas of fresh cut grass, white pepper, tangerine, light yeast esters and aromatics. Decently hoppy (European hops). Pear. Flavors are light. Straw, grass, pear, [some spice, that I can’t quite put my tired palate on]. Quite spicy from both yeast and hops. Very lively carbonation, quite dry on the palate. Spicy and easy to drink. Nicely done. Overall score would go unchanged.
Hank1980 (959) - Athens, Georgia, USA - JUL 17, 2008
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at RR. Pour is clear golden with a big white head. Aroma of yeast, citrus, hops, spice, and light malt. Taste is of yeast, fruit, earthy hops. Body is medium and well carbonated. Nice, easy drinker.
bhops (430) - Dallas, Texas, USA - JUL 14, 2008
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
on tap at brewery. Nice funk aroma with malty sweetness. Good beer, very smooth and drinkable.
kegbear (436) - Orange, California, USA - JUL 13, 2008
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
750 ML bottle. Batch 005. Nice Blond Ale that tastes bready and finishes dry. Some bitter spice comes through. A very refreshing summer ale.
SamGamgee (2452) - down the whirlpool, California, USA - JUL 7, 2008
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
75cl bottle, batch 005, thanks to larryLSB for picking this one up at the brewpub today. Golden body with a big rocky head and lots of visible carbonation. The aroma is a little fruity, with pear and lemon, some spice and honey. Light to medium bodied with a clean scrubbing feeling from the carbonation. Goes down light but super smooth and drinkable. Flavors of yeast and light apple-pear fruitiness, ending pretty dry and with an assertive herbal, leafy hoppy bite. Drinks like a perfectly balanced Bohemian Pilsener, with the added complexity and fruitiness of a Belgian ale. If I could get this in sixers, I think I would be drinking this all summer. Very light and refreshing, but not lacking in flavor and complexity.
larryLSB (443) - La Selva Beach, California, USA - JUL 6, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Batch 005, bought at the Brewery earlier today. Nice nose, with a hint of sweetness. Beautiful light gold color with medium white head. Not too strong of a taste, light bodey, mild. Nice aftertaste. Overall a good blonde ale. I can picture the monks now...
bdigital (658) - Ft Wayne, Indiana, USA - JUL 6, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle, Batch 002: Clear golden color with a minimal white head. Pleasant aroma of floral hops, light citrus, some spiced notes and an underlying funked-up barnyard. Perfect mouth feel, light and crisp yet still retains some sort of substance. Flavor is bready malts, some light citrus, pepper and finishes mildly sour. Badass brew.
golubj (1377) - San Mateo, California, USA - JUL 5, 2008
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Draft at the brewpub. Dark blond pour, some amber hints. Like a more flavorful version of the little white lie, sweet pale belgian malt, some fruit, citrus, and spices. Maybe the best of the day.