FlacoAlto (4127) - 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
ben4321 (5398) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - MAY 18, 2016
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle from NickD717 simply because he’s a good dude and he noticed I’d never had it before. Thanks bud! Beautiful aroma of white wine grapes, yeast, funk, and a little citrus fruit. Pours a clear yellowish-orange with just a hint of a green tint. Fairly bubbly in the glass with a thick white head and some rather heavy, sticky lacing on the glass. The flavor is funky and a little tart. Strong wine component melds beautifully with the funk. Feels fairly soft and yet somehow tingly at the same time, with a dry, funky close. Really excellent stuff. Just another way that our 20+ years of friendship has paid off for my beer drinking pleasure. Thanks again Nick!
Tstamba (670) - Maryland, USA - APR 24, 2016
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle to a snifter. Pours clear pale yellow with ample foamy white head... A ton of carbonation... Effervescent ... Tart apple and white grape notes, pleasantly sour Granny Smith and buttery Chardonnay flavors kissed by the oak... Truly outstanding ale!!!
JohnGalt1 (1434) - Boise, Idaho, USA - MAR 7, 2016
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Hazy straw with a good head and a little bit of retention.. sorta looks like a slightly cloudy sparkling wine.
Aroma is like a dry white wine.. citrus zest.. underripe peaches and grapes..
Flavor mirrors the aroma.. sour and fruity and a little oakey.. never reaching acedic territory.. wonderful and very complex... has a puckering quality like when sucking on grape skins and seeds. Body is champagne like with prickly carbonation... and the drinkablity is fantastic... I would pick this over any sparking wine any day, any where, and any circumstance.. awesome.
Claves77 (213) - Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 22, 2016
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Light golden color, lots of carbonation. Thick white head. Complex smell, sour with light airyness of white wine. Sour full body. Overall excellent.
drsandman (910) - New York, USA - FEB 15, 2016
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Tap @ Monks, Zwanze. Clear gold, lasting white head. Aroma is heavy oak, egg, sock, lemon, light booze, brett. Flavor is dry, tart, brett/lemon/oak/grape/wine.
burg326 (5202) - Florida, USA - FEB 6, 2016
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
What can I say that hasn’t been said already, if you get a chance to drink this beer, do it you won’t be sorry another great sour from these guys.
Ferris (10747) - Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA - FEB 2, 2016
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft - Vintage 2012 - Nice sweet perfumy grains. Clear gold with a decent white head. Nice, sweet and Pedrumy with a clean light tart finish. Solid.
wchesser (1807) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JAN 14, 2016
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Draft at Fire on the Mountain, Denver. Clear gold, with moderate lacing. Nose is some sweaty brett, light tropical fruits, with some basement and minerality, white wine. Taste follows, all very subtle with nice lemon and light lacto tartness on the finish. Very smooth and drinkable, not beating you over the head with any one thing.
artemb (462) - Chisinau, MOLDOVA - JAN 10, 2016
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Look: almost clear yellow with strong white head.
Aroma: white grape, brett, cider, some spicy herbs.
Taste: dry, lactic acidity with astrigency and bitterness.
Flavour: white wine, fresh grape, yeast, brett, lactic acid, oak tannins,
Prominent bitterness in the aftertaste.
SG111 (1004) - New York, USA - JAN 3, 2016
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Tap at the source. Pours light yellow, big white head. Aroma is sour funk, lemon, clove, light oak character. Flavor is tart lemon, spicey earthiness. Very well done.