FlacoAlto (3810) - 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 (60ļF / 15.5ļC), 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 & gewŁrztraminer 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 hasnít 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 arenít quite enough, as I always want more of this brew after draining my glass. Though if it was a 750ís 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 donít 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
Blairgus (2682) - California, USA - NOV 16, 2014
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
16 Nov 2014, bottle. light yellow, clear, steady bubbles. nose is brett, white grape, grape must. thin body and moderately fizzy. pretty tart from the beginning and fades at the end. earthy, dry, some woody notes. reminds me of a dry champagne.
dresden (909) - Saskatchewan, CANADA - NOV 15, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Golden clear with a big white head but it disappeared quickly. Very aroma, some hay and funkiness. Taste is very fruity, Brett and lactic sourness, maybe the best RR sloe Iíve tried yet, really enjoying this.
jbruner (2418) - Athens, Georgia, USA - NOV 3, 2014
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a hazy yellow from the bottle with fluffy white head that dissipates to leave moderate lace. Aroma is sour lemon, funky brett, nice barnyard over lactic citrus. Taste follows, nice lactic tartness with big funky barnyard notes, citrus base, prefect for what you would think.
kevinator (1037) - The Colony, Texas, USA - OCT 28, 2014
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
A more pronounced sour. Citrus and apple tart aroma. Pretty crystal golden color with a big foamy head. Palate was very wine-like. Tartness was up front and more like apple than lemon. Finish was somewhat dry. The funk was a little less. A little more one-sided than I typically prefer.
Ron (2649) - Rochester, New York, USA - OCT 24, 2014
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
On tap at Russian River. Pours a pale yellow with a small white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma has a huge tart apple and grape, vinegar, light oak. The taste is big tart lemon, apple, and grape. There is a residual dry tartness that lingers on the tongue.
BiiruBierBeer (221) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - OCT 22, 2014
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Chardonnay smell and taste. Lots of oak and bubbles. Medium to high carbonation and foamy.
slowrunner77 (6019) - Reno, Nevada, USA - OCT 21, 2014
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
"ok, Russian River knows what theyíre doing with the Belgian style. This is one of the better ones Iíve tried. Iíve only had it on tap...hopefully, as itís corked, itís just as good in the bottle. A little pricey, but worth trying. had for the third time last night-just a sample, but itís grown on me a little (not that i didnít like it before). the brett & barreling seemed more aggressive this time, which was a good thing. near mouth-puckering yuminess."
Dapierce17 (110) - Pasco, Washington, USA - OCT 15, 2014
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours a golden slightly hazy. Very little head that quickly dissipates. Aromas of tart citrus with hints of oaks. Characters of white wine and brett also come through. Flavors of chardonnay with a definite sour punch. Very dry and tart with a oaky finish. Extremely complex and very good.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
robbienate (113) - Calgary, Alberta, CANADA - OCT 13, 2014
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Nice slightly bubbly mediumlasting head. Aroma is mild and balanced fruity, dried tropical fruits, grapefruit, sorrel, oak, mild vinegar, light malts, lemon, peach. Taste is slightly dry citrusy, lemon peel, oak, sorrel, mild vinegar, grass, lemon, weeds, hay.
maddmatt639 (276) - Pacifica, California, USA - OCT 12, 2014
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
No retention and no lacing. Smells of Chardonnay, sour fruits and apples. Tastes of sour grapes, yeast and Chardonnay. No aftertaste.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone