Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lost Abbey Brouwer’s Imagination Series 2

Style: American Wild Ale / Strong Sour
Purchased at Bottleworks Seattle, WA

A collaboration between The Lost Abbey and Brouwer's Cafe, this blend of 3 separate barrel aged beers is only available at Brouwer's Cafe and Bottleworks for a limited time.

Aroma: Strong sourness fills the nose with characteristic Brettanomyces ‘horse blanket’ aroma. Fruity esters also accompany the Brett with tangerine notes and subtle grapefruit. Alcohol spice is present but not forefront, the Brettanomyces dominates every aspect of this aromatic blended brew. Sour aroma has to be one of the strongest I have experienced in a Wild Ale.

Appearance: While the color boarders on black, the true nature is a dark brown with some haze. A strong push of carbonation bubbles holds up a rocky and steady nut-brown head. Even several minutes after pouring the head remains strong, what has faded thickly holds to the side of the glass.

Flavor: Like a sour candy your palate isn’t ready the tart character present in the first sip of this beer. Moving past the burning sourness the beer presents an earthy and woody character. Tart cherries and green apple also push across the tongue with a very light touch of dark fruit. There is a yeasty phenolic character that is hard to pick up at first but seems to hint at a green banana flavor I have not tasted in a beer before. It’s subtle, but adds a nice complexity going into the finish. The beer finishes mostly dry but with slight stickiness around the edges.

Mouthfeel: An incredible sourness grabs your jaw muscles at the first sip of this beer. Incredibly puckering at first the body is light to medium with high carbonation. The carbonation quickly cleans the palate into the drying and sour finish. The sourness will bite you at the back of the throat toward the end.

Overall: Pushing the boundaries of sourness this beer dominates the aroma and palate with focused and biting Brettanomyces character. Since I like this style so much it's exhilarating to drink, but if sourness isn't your style then this is no where to start. The oak and wine characters blend together well but are still dominated by Brett. Carbonation could be backed off a bit to allow the malts to work their way onto your palate and build on the body just a touch more.

This beer would age well and I’m guessing the sourness would mellow out in time, allowing more malt complexity through. As it is however, this is a compelling wild ale that creates new interest with each sip.

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Beer enthusiast and advocate. Recognized beer judge and traveler of west coast beer destinations.