Tag Archives: Wild Ale

792. Jack’s Abby Sour Barrel Project #5

Jacks Abby Barrel Project #5It has been a month since my last post, craziness of life sometimes gets in the way of blogging but my daughter’s soccer team is done, birthday parties including my 40th are done for the year and you should see more posts over the next several weeks. The long Maine winters are a great time to blog.

This one from Jack’s Abby continues a string of beers from Massachusetts that will continue as I am doing more and more business down that way. Look for more reviews of Trillium, Mystic, Night Shift and hopefully more from the guys at Jacks Abby too.

Sour Barrel Project #5 is a wine barrel aged version of Leisure Time and was available at the brewery for growler fills this summer. Appearance is a nice light golden color with minimal head which is pretty typical for a sour beer. Aroma is mild but has some earthiness along with hints of wheat and spices. Taste was light on the sour and had little to no wine barrel character but it did have some spice and a light tartness that worked well.

There was nothing about this beer that really stood out but everything about it worked making it a very enjoyable beer and something that would be a great intro to wild/sour beers for craft beer drinkers that are interested in the style but don’t want anything too crazy. 
Pros:
No flaws
Cons:
Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Jack’s Abby Brewing
Brewers Description:
Leisure Time aged in red wine barrels with brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus for 12 months.

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711. Night Shift Brewing Supernova

Night Shift SupernovaA few weeks back I posted my wishlist and I received great response from readers of my blog. Night Shift was one of about a dozen breweries on that list that I wanted to try more beers from. Fortunately I was able to trade for a few bottles including Supernova.

The description on the bottle reads “100% brett-fermented double IPA aged in red wine barrels”. This is almost certainly the first time I have had this combination in a single beer. Supernova pours a vibrant orange with a thick white head that left lots of lacing on the glass. Aroma is a very interesting mix of funk, fruity hops and wine.

As interesting as the aroma is the taste adds even more complexity. You start with some peach fruity flavor followed by a bit of warmth from the alcohol and finishes with the mild funk from the brett. Lots going on with this one and as it warms it continues to develop. I had no idea what to expect when I opened this beer but in the end I was very pleased.
Pros:
Wonderfully complex
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 10.2% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Night Shift Brewing
Brewers Description: 100% brett-fermented double IPA aged in red wine barrels.

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547. Oxbow Brewing Arboreal

Oxbow ArborealAnother beer that has been in my cellar for some time. Arboreal was a brewery only release with only 200 bottles total. This was bottle #57 which is the only bottle I was able to purchase as their was a one bottle limit. I really wish I had more as this was an amazing beer.

Getting into this beer was a chore. The wax dipped top was very thick and hard to cut through. Once I did get through it and opened the bottle some of the precious contents were lost as it was a gusher. Fortunately I was prepared and opened over the sink with glass nearby so I was able to contain most of the beer.

Appearance is a deep red with a solid off white head. Aroma had plenty of funk, I find it difficult to identify the aromas on many of these sour/wild beers. Taste is very complex with a nice sour fruit taste with some oak but the bourbon was not apparent. I wonder if it was there and went away with age or if the sourness simply overpowered it.

This beer was truly amazing and it is unfortunate that more people will not be able to enjoy it. If anyone has a bottle at home, OPEN IT or contact me as I would love to obtain another bottle. 
Pros: 

Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 8.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Oxbow Brewing
Brewers Description: An American Sour Ale, fermented and aged in bourbon barrels with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus.

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546. Hill Farmstead Elaborative One

Hill Farmstead ElaborativeThe description of this beer is unlike any other – “A tart brown ale brewed with Ohio walnuts, aged 18 months in a variety of oak barrels”. First I am not sure I have ever had a tart brown ale, second who uses walnuts in beer? Fortunately when you have Shaun Hill, Brad from Jackie O’s and Chad from Crooked Stave involved the end result is something unique and very tasty.

Pours a deep brown with a very thick tan head. Aroma has plenty of wood from the barrels but also some nut and funk. The taste is incredibly unique with a slight sour taste to start followed quickly by the walnut. Also has some dark fruits, wood and funk in there.

This is not a beer or a style that I would drink on a regular basis (nor could I since it was a limited release) but it is something that you should try just to enjoy the complex combination of flavors.
Pros: Very complex and unique
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewers Description: Tart Brown Ale brewed with Ohio Walnuts. Aged 18 months in a variety of oak barrels… in friendship with Brad at Jackie O’s and Chad at Crooked Stave.

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545. Allagash Brewing Gargamel Ale

Allagash GargamelThis one was given to me by Paul who sells hops for Willamette Valley Hops. Gargamel had been in his cellar for some time and then sat in mine for several months before being opened as part of my October Epic Beer Month.

This beer has a nice amber color with a very thin white head that disappears almost immediately. The aroma has some dark fruit and a nice earthy funk. Taste has probably mellowed out quite a bit from when it was originally bottled as it has been at least 2 years. Still has some oak but the raspberries mentioned in Allagash’s description are almost entirely lost. Really complex mix of flavors and very tasty.

Would have loved to have tried this one when it was fresh so I had a point of comparison with this bottle but it is still tasting great. If you have a bottle in your cellar you may want to give it a try.
Pros: Very complex
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 9.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Allagash Brewing
Brewers Description: Gargamel, a Belgian Style sour ale, is the first offering in our limited release 375 ml series. Our brewers used a blend of American 2-row barley Malt, Raw and Malted wheat and selected caramel malt to brew this beer. After primary fermentation the beer was inoculated with our house Brettanomyces aged in French Oak wine barrels with a generous amount of local raspberries for over 18 months. Gargamel’s aroma is full of un-ripened raspberry, vanilla and citrus notes. This medium bodied beer has hints of biscuit and graham cracker with a clean, fruity and refreshingly tart finish.

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541. The Bruery Sour in the Rye

Bruery Sour in the RyePicked this beer up on a recent trip to Vermont as it is not distributed in Maine. I have not had much from The Bruery but heard good things about this one so figured I would give it a shot.

Appearance is a nice cloudy orange with a thin white head. Aroma is sour lemons and apple, not very funky which for some reason I thought it would be. Taste follows with a very tart lemon / apple to start and finishes with a nice rye sweetness.

This beer did not disappoint and was perfect as an afternoon sipper. 
Pros:
Flavorful and tart
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 8.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness):
Rating: 
Brewers Website: 
Brewers Description: We brewed this ale with around 40% rye as a base malt and let our sour yeast and bacteria eat away at it in oak barrels for over a year creating a sour ale with a complex character of rye spice, oak and a subtle funk.

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462. Brewery Vivant Escoffier Bretta Ale

Vivant EscoffierI had high hopes for this beer being a collaboration with New Belgium Brewing and being a brett beer in a can. Overall I was happy with the beer but I think I am spoiled by the great funky beer coming out of Allagash and Oxbow.

Appearance may be the best part of this beer with a nice orange color and thick off white head. Aroma is a bit odd with some apple tart and a bit of funk but not overly pleasant. Taste was disappointing with a little brett and some light fruit but also some flavors that just seemed off, not even sure what they were. Alcohol was well hidden but overall this is not a beer that I would seek out again. 
Pros:
Appearance
Cons: Odd flavor 
Alcohol Content: 9.25% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Brewery Vivant
Brewers Description: Escoffier is our much heralded collaboration with New Belgium Brewing in Ft. Collins, CO. Coinciding with their entry into Michigan, this project began with a friendly meeting at our pub. After a few beers and some food, the idea to brew a beer together started to take shape.

Auguste Escoffier is considered the master chef of the 20th century. His ideas and methods left an indellible imprint on the culinary world, and are still in use to this very day. We named our beer ‘Escoffier’ to celebrate the relationship between great food and excellent beer, and how they elevate each other when enjoyed together. If you’ve ever visited our pub, this is the cornerstone of what we try to accomplish.

Characteristics: This beer displays our Farmhand yeast and a wild yeast from New Belgium’s brewery called Brettanomyces. Expect a brew that is somewhat dry and malt forward with the “horse blanket” funkiness synonymous with brett. This beer will only get better with time, and cellar well for years to come.

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423. Allagash Brewing FV 13

Allagash FV13FV 13 is a limited release beer from Allagash. It went on sale at the brewery exclusively and then made its way to some retail stores in the following weeks. I picked up my 4-bottle limit at the brewery the day it was released and then grabbed a couple more at The Vault when it hit their shelves. I went an entire week back in December drinking all Allagash beer including many of their most expensive releases that I had been sitting on for some time. With this one I decided not to wait and had a bottle shortly after I purchased it.

This beer is an amazing copper color with a very thin off white head. Aroma is very inviting if you like some sour funk in your beer. Allagash sums up the taste pretty well in their description of the beer “The flavor is a blend of sweet and tart, with notes of fruit and caramelized sugar” I can’t say it any better so I will just use their description. This is a very nice beer that is already four years old but I would not be surprised if this one continued to improve over the next few years. With 3 more bottles in the cellar I am sure to find out. 
Pros:
Very tasty
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 8.9% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Allagash
Brewers Description: FV 13 marks our first venture into the world of foudre beers. Foudres are giant oak tanks used for aging (this one holds 2700 gallons.) FV 13 is a blend of wild yeast and bacteria, a base beer with lots of malt character, and about four years of patience. The finished beer is copper in color, with an aroma of cherries and caramel. The flavor is a blend of sweet and tart, with notes of fruit and caramelized sugar. The full mouthfeel gives way to a tart, mouth drying finish.

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398. The Bruery Gunga Galunga

The Bruery Gunga GalungaI grabbed this one as part of a trade. I had no idea what the beer was when I grabbed it but saw The Bruery and thought I would give it a try. Had I known it was a beer with Thai influence, lime leaves and galanga root I probably would have reconsidered. If you happen across a bottle of this beer be careful when you open it as it was a gusher.

This beer is black with a huge tan head. Massive bubbles in the head (see photo below). Lots of aroma here but most of it I do not recognize, a bit of lime and some brett. Taste is like nothing I have ever had but not in a good way. I expected to get some brett taste and did not. It did have plenty of lime, spice and maybe a bit of chocolate. If that sounds like an odd combination it is and did not work well together. I let the beer warm and it didn’t matter. Finished the first glass and the rest was a drain pour.
Pros: Appearance
Cons: Very odd combo or flavors
Alcohol Content: 7.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 25
Rating: 
Brewers Website: The Bruery
Brewers Description: Gunga Galunga is a black beer with Thai influence. Brewed with 100% brettanomyces, kaffir lime leaves and galanga root (also known as Thai ginger, but it’s not too ginger-like). This smooth, dry and roasty beer has clear notes of fresh citrus, crushed herbs and will compliment a spicy curry beautifully.

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183. Maine Beer Company Thank You Allan

This is the Maine Beer Company’s limited release beer – 250 hand numbered bottles with $10 from each going to the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund (see below for details). I was fortunate to pickup bottles #10, 11 & 12 on the first day of the sale and decided to open bottle #12 today. The bottle is amazing – better picture available in my prior post and the beer inside is different than any other beer I have had before. First they use brettanomyces (see Wikipedia info here) as the yeast which is typically only used in sours. This is probably the first beer I have reviewed that uses this type of yeast and then they aged it in Syrah barrels. Syrah is a type of grape used to make wines in France and by aging beer in a barrel used previously for wine it takes on a lot of those characteristics.

The appearance is not all that different than other beers, light in color, slightly hazy with a thin head after an aggressive pour. Head disappears quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass. Lightly carbonated with a slightly sour aroma, like a green apple. Taste has some wine characteristics but feels more like a champagne with light carbonation. A bit of the sour apple/grape in the flavor profile as well a slight spice finish. The beer is very easy to drink and I am not sure what the alcohol content is but it seems to be fairly high with no alcohol bite to it. Overall this is a unique beer from Maine Beer Company and it is well crafted as they all seem to be. I have two more bottles and will age at least one to see how it taste a year or two from now.
Pros: Unique, easy to drink
Cons: Only 250 bottles released
Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Maine Beer Company
Brewers Description: This is our farmhouse ale. It was fermented with a blend of ale strains and aged in french oak Syrah barrels with brettanomyces. $10 from your purchase goes straight to the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund. Thank You!

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