Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: AmillenniALE Gone Wild

Batch #3... So many firsts. My first recipe. My first partial mash. My first starter. My first Belgian. My first Wild hair... at bottling, after adding the priming sugar, I thought, this would be awesome with Brett. I diverted a gallon to a glass jug I had and hit it with the dregs of Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale and Matilda along with some DME. The beer had finsihed at 1.021. I also added some American Oak, medium toast. After about 7 months, I didn't notice much Brett funk, and a lot of oak, so I moved it to a new jug, hit it with a starter of the dregs of Russian River Consecration and went sour and wild with it. After another 5 months, it was nice and sour, oaky, finished at 1.002 and was highly oxidized, but I bottled it anyways, and boy am I glad I did. Sucks that I only got a 12 pack of it though.

Look: This beer pours a super clear amber with a very thin beige bubbly head that fades quick and leaves thin lacing and legs.

Aroma: Smells of cherry pie and barnyard funk, lots of Brett in the nose, with red wine, oak, light vinegar twang, wet cardboard from the oxidation, black pepper and clove spiciness.

Taste: Sour hits the palate first, lactic, and a sharp acetic vinegar, followed by oak and an alcohol that is smooth yet vacates your sinus cavity on the exhale. Spiciness comes next, with fruits, cherries, and Brett funk, oxidized, and a spicy finish.

Mouthfeel: The beer is light and thin, carbonation is lacking, bone dry finish and very tart, but not puckering, astringent and tannic from the oak in a nice way, as it warms it leaves an astringent bitterness in the finish.

Overall: Very nice sour. Very glad at how this extract/first partial mash, first recipe, shoot-from-the-hip, last minute, single gallon, evolving-experiment turned out. The sourness is clean and sharp, a nice blend of lactic and acetic acids, not too overdone, but nicely sour. The dry finish, tannins, and sourness with the low IBUs works well here, and creates a great finish. The Brett is very complex and enjoyable, and the spicy alcohol is subtle for being about 9% with no residual sugar to balance it. Definitely needs more carbonation to help with the thin body and to help all the flavors and aromas pop as well as to help cleanse the palate after each sip. Oxidation is to be expected and considering the high amount of it at bottling, I'm surprised (and excited) at how restrained it is now.

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