FlacoAlto (3737) - 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
falco242 (217) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - APR 19, 2014
4.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Holy crap, this beer is awesome. Light yellow with a remarkable apple and winey oakiness and the brett adds a wondetful tart sourness that doesnt make you pucker too much. So damn good.
ElGaucho (2161) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - APR 19, 2014
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle courtesy of Islay. Sour aroma with some funk. Crystal clear pale yellow. Effervescent bubbles. Very sour initial mouthfeel. Dry. Batch 05X2F. Very complex and palate cleansing. Enjoyable.
andrewje41 (142) - Kenmore, Washington, USA - APR 18, 2014
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Draft pour. Lemon tart aroma. Sweet citrus flavors with a nice, dry, mild, sour finish. I can drink this all day, as I could have guessed. Sour isn’t nearly as intense as others, but it’s nice for a change. Loved it.
bursprak (302) - Aarhus, DENMARK - MAR 15, 2014
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
355 ml corked and caged bottle. From a trade. Pours golden, slightly hazy with a small off white head that settles fast. Aroma is lots of funk, acid, lemonpeel and some hay. Taste is loads of lemon, some light bread and some light vinegar. Quite vineous with a dry ending. Enjoyable!
brinehart (199) - Colorado, USA - FEB 15, 2014
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 20/20
375 mL bottle, bottled on 5/30/2013. Beautiful pour - crystal clear deep gold with fluffy white long lasting head. Big lacing. Lively carbonation. Nose is somewhat restrained. Aromas of chardonnay, earth, and pie cherries. Flavor is bursting and much more complex. Mostly lemon drop type sour with some tart cherry, funky and musty in all the right ways. Finish is quick and leaves the mouth feeling refreshed and wanting more. Wonderful sour beer, one of the best I've had.
hotstuff (3954) - Indiana, USA - FEB 10, 2014
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Rated on 4-28-2010 (Corked and caged bottle and Batch 003) This beer pours a large frothy white head that mostly diminishes, transparent/slightly hazy yellow body, fizzy carbonation, and a fair amount of lacing. The aroma is yeast, woody, buttery, sweet, fruity, sour, and tart. The taste is sweet, sour, tart, fruity, oak, buttery, and has a dry finish. The palate is tingly and this beer is medium bodied. Overall, this beer is very sour tasting and it is too sour for my liking. If one likes this beer style, one should try this one.
pdx77 (1028) - Oregon, USA - JAN 25, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
On draught at 2014 CellarFest at Bailey’s Taproom. 2009 vintage. Deep hazy golden color. Lightly funky basement aroma with notes of lemon zest. Taste is funky yeast, green grapes, lemon, oak, and sweet citrus. Mellow sour and fruit balance. Belies its alcohol content.
Dogbones (116) - North Carolina, USA - JAN 19, 2014
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottled on 05/30/13. Amazing yellow color with a thick white head. The funky Chardonnay taste really spills through on this one! Amazing horse blanket smell rocks though as you taste unicorn effervescence. Very refreshing and a must have in the very near future!
umich03jm (1580) - Flat Rock, Michigan, USA - JAN 14, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle shared by tectactoe at Jeff’s. Thanks! Pours light yellow with a small fizzy head that fades to nothing. Musty aroma of citrus, grass, oak, barnyard and white wine. Taste is very woody and earthy. Nice amount of sour lemon, white wine, and funky barnyard. Not overly sour or tart which is good for me. One of the most refreshing sours I’ve had and it goes down really easy. Definitely my favorite RR sour I’ve sampled.
DCLawyer (1312) - Falls Church, Virginia, USA - JAN 12, 2014
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle->snifter. Hazy golden yellow with bare white head. Brett, bright citrus funk, sour fruit. Very very nice.