FlacoAlto (3849) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - DEC 13, 2007
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: DEC 21, 2007 Batch 2, Sampled December 2007
It was definitely a slight mistake to serve this at near cellar temperatures (60ºF / 15.5ºC), as the beer foamed up and started gushing as soon as I popped the cork. I only lost a couple ounces though. The beer forms a frothy, scant fat-one-finger thick, pale, off white colored head that is actually quite persistent. The beer is a hazy, slightly chunky, orange tinted, dark straw color. The oak character seems much subdued from the first batch (which is a good thing as this was my main complaint with that beer). This is nice and funky, notes of urea, aromatic goat, farmhouse-stinky-cheese, a definite cattiness, mushroom spore and a host of sharp phenolics that at times approaches fresh curing plastic. Underneath the funk is a nice fruit character reminiscent of tart, un-ripened white grapes (sauvignon blanc & gewürztraminer come to mind), as well as touch of green apple and tart pear aromas. The aroma on this is really quite nice, it is definitely ringing my funky bone right now.
Tart, but not aggressively so (at least for this Gueuze addict), it is somehow soft and creamy feeling, despite the still present carbonation. This creaminess has definitely been picked up in the barrel as oak notes add some tongue coating softness to this brew and even some heft to the body; suggestive from the butter-like oak flavors this makes the beer actually feel buttery in texture. Soft oak contributions of vanillin, a definite sharp spiciness and perhaps a hint of buttery-oak notes are all found here, though the spicy notes are definitely the largest oak character here. The wine analogy continues as the process used is definitely a contributor; definitely reminiscent of an oaky chardonnay as this beer has flavors of green fruit, star-fruit, flint, a certain light metallic quality and that definite oak presence. The funky wee-beasts and the oak contribute spice notes of white pepper, piquant ginger, The flavor is not quite as funky as the aroma might have suggested, but I think this is ultimately a good thing as it allows the complexity of the fruit, oak and spiciness to come through. The sourness, while present and definitive, is so well integrated that it is not overly noticed on its own.
The oak character is much more in check with this the second batch. This is a far superior beer in my opinion (and it hasn’t taken anywhere near 5 years as I last predicted) as the oak, while present, now plays a supporting role. If successive batches keep getting better, then I am going to need to re-baseline my scoring. Just a fantastic brew. The texture is phenomenal & the flavor is just so well integrated and nuanced. The aroma, while absolutely engaging and complex, may actually be a bit too funky. Let me explain that though, because I absolutely love funk and the funk found in the aroma, while dominant, is so well integrated together, but it is a bit too dominant to let the nuanced oak, grape and malt notes through (despite being so inviting and characterful). I may even need to crack a batch 1 just to see what is happening to that .I still maintain that these 375ml bottles just aren’t quite enough, as I always want more of this brew after draining my glass. Though if it was a 750’s worth, my proliferous text might be pushing the extremes of my already superfluous ramblings.
Batch 1, Sampled July 2005
7/4/7/4/16 total 3.8
Pours a lightly hazy orange-copper color, it is pretty well carbonated and has a frothy pale, almost white head. The aroma is quite oaky with lots of buttery notes, an astringent woodiness, notes of grapes (perhaps sauvignon or chardonnay), notes of pears, and some subtle spice notes. Quite an interesting nose on this one.
The beer is quite light on the palate, and very dry. The dryness actually suppresses the oakiness a bit, but it is definitely still here. The finish is quite long with a subtle tannic woodiness to it. There is a light acidity (for a Lambic at least) here as well, more similar to the lactic character of a Lambic than the acetic character of a Flemish sour beer. I am really quite relieved that I don’t get any diacetyl in this beer (I am quite sensitive to it), there is a bit of buttery character (mostly in the aroma), but this is definitely oak derived. There is a certain spritzy character to this beer that is a combination of the carbonation and the acidity.
This beer is really quite interesting, Vinnie still has a ways to go, but this has more to do with the barrels than Vinnie at this point. I think that Vinnie has the touch, in perhaps 5 years (if the wee bugs are compliant and amenable) the new releases of this should be stellar.
Purchased: Russian River Brewing
Prolitariat777 (54) - St george, Utah, USA - JUL 29, 2015
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
Awesome in everything from lemon zest and wine barrel aroma. Taste real tart with a wine like champagne Chardonnay mouthfeel. Finishes with tartness and funk. Excellent.
Tsekouratos (481) - Nea Filadelfeia, Athens, GREECE - JUN 28, 2015
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Golden orange color with a thick white head. Aromas of fruits, lemon, leather and oak. Taste is really sour and acidic, with lemon, leather, sweat, oak, fruits. Light body with medium carbonation.
bigtaster (801) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - JUN 26, 2015
4.2 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2011 vintage 375 ml mottle into snifter. Pours a clear stunning gold color with small off white head that sticks to the sides of the glass. Nose is bit white wine, minerals, apples, lemon zest, hints of horse blanket, straw, biscuit. Light body, mild sweetness, soft carbonation, sharp acidity, moderate funk, slight sourness. Finish is long lasting with more acidic apple, and vinous notes. I get a lot of chardonnay here, and it really aged beautifully with great level of funk and sourness coming through, very well crafted beer.
GreatDane1632 (1058) - Alabama, USA - MAY 15, 2015
4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Rated based on notes taken 14 May 2012 -- Bottle (5X1E) poured into an English pint. This beer is great. This started molding my enjoyment of sour beers.
ffbot (60) - Oakland, California, USA - MAY 13, 2015
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Aroma is floral, grass, citrus, earthy...Appearance is pale, with a hazy and cloudy look to the brew. Slight head that disappeared. Taste was amazing, medium sweetness, then the sourness hits...you can taste the barrel aging in this very well. Long finish, lingers around. Matches well with so many different foods. High carbonation, slick and easy to drink, great mouthfeel, and full bodies. A delight to drink.
tectactoe (3118) - Michigan, USA - MAY 11, 2015
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle: Golden-yellow body, bright & hazy with a stark white, foamy head that settles quickly to a thin collar. Aroma of thoroughly acidic & tart. Sour apple skins, pears, under-ripe stone fruit, faint apricot. Heavy wood backdrop; lots of wet oak, dusty hay, dry white wine, & sour grapes. Super sour flavor loaded with puckering tartness. Lemons, apples, pears, & acidic peach transforms into a softer vinousness near mid-palate loaded with white wine, acetic grapes, faint vinegar, & a strong background of woody oak. Small touch of cotton blanket funk & musty hay. Sour lingers in the finish with an aftertaste of white grapes, lemon, apple, wood, & faint vinegar. Just a delicious beer, absolutely incredible. My favorite Russian River sour behind Beatification.
Beersmithbacon (111) - San Luis Rey, California, USA - MAY 8, 2015
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
Is it beer or wine. Either or it would be a five. Nice Pinot and Sauvignon blanc aroma, beer character of an old lambic, tart and sour. Both the flavors and aromas of peach and sour fruits are excellent.
Beerathon (1560) - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 14, 2015
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
This beer has a lot going on. Chardonnay is evident in the nose, as is the oak. So lemon, grape, floral notes, funky sourness that is lovely. Soft carbonation.
veronneaupy (241) - Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, CANADA - APR 11, 2015
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Au nez, c'est bien sûr, barriqué et sucré à la fois. En bouche, c'est très surette, mais sucré comme un bonbon a la fois. On sent bien le vieillissement en baril. Ce n'est pas poussiéreux, mais plutôt léger et pétillant. La finale est sweet, sour et citrusy! Un cadeau des dieux!!!
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
zoucrew102 (871) - - APR 4, 2015
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
375ml corked bottle. White wine grape aroma with notes of sour funk and a bit of lemony citrus. Pours clear golden colored with a thin, retentive white head with excellent lacing. Starts quite like a Chardonnay with sweet white grape flavors coupled with the lively carbonation. Finishes smooth but quite tart with funk and some lemon citrus that lingers on the palate. Very good, but the sour bite at the end is a bit much for my tastes.