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The Wanderer - The Bruery

Not Rated.
The WandererThe Wanderer

Educational use only; do not reuse.

108 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 108
Hads: 828
Avg: 4.29
pDev: 8.86%
Wants: 475
Gots: 225 | FT: 46
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: t0rin0 on 05-04-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

The Wanderer is a special blend of oak aged ales that we made with Craig and Beth from San Francisco's City Beer Store. Blending a mix of sour ales and our anniversary ale the base of this beer has a delightfully sour tinge on top of a hearty malt backbone. To add to the flavor, Craig and Beth selected blackberries and bing cherries to be added to the ale adding to it's already fruity complexity. This ale went on to win the silver medal for wood & barrel aged sour fruited ales at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 108 | Hads: 828
Photo of IKR
4.11/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 Vintage

Appearance: Cloudy reddish-brown color. the beer has a light beige head that dissipated fairly quickly to a ring.

Smell: Mild musk and tart berries. i also pick up the fainest tobacco aroma. Not a bad smelling sour.

Taste: Tart berries, mild funk and a touch of a leather-like note. More of a tart beer rather than sour. The tart cherries and blackberries feature in the finish.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium-bodied with a good level of carbonation.

Overall: A good sour. I'm glad I picked up a few of these.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to hopodyssey for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

2013 vintage.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour with malt, fruit, acidic, and slight caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with sour malt, fruit, and acidic flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is tasty but the fruit presence is fairly subdued.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.16/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

this beer inspired a conversation on the relative merits between perfectly simple and perfectly complex. this beer falls somewhere in the middle of simple and complex, but its perfection is hard to debate. another special one from the bruery and their collaborators. it pours a hazy red pink, minimally heady, and lighter in looks than most burgundy type sours, which is where i kind of have to classify this one based on its smell and taste. the nose is fruit forward, love the blend, kriek and framboise are one fruit beers, this is more dynamic than that, and its immediately evident. tart and sweet, a little lactic lemon in there, but smooth too. the fruit is mixed through the whole taste, and the souring bits come late and soft. i like the feel a ton, not being as heavy in body or acid as beers like flanders reds and burgundy sours such as origins from crooked stave or the dissident from deschutes, although i put its fruit profile in line with those beers, and its bacterial presence in the same neighborhood as well. this is more gentle, more drinkable, dialed. its alcohol cannot be tasted, and its acid does not scar the tongue. carbonated beautifully, and only sweet as it needs to be. this is top quality beer, short of sour, but fully tart, a real gem. an exercise in delicacy and nuance, i am impressed. thanks to drlovemd87, who has made way too many world class beers available to me!

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Photo of dudeman
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a small 4oz pour at city beer.

Small fizzy head over a dark caramel foggy looking, murky solution.

The smell is vinegar, hops, sour thing that is welcoming.

The initial taste is quite sour with definite cherry skin flavors with a bit of the sweet raspberry haunting the pallet - reminiscent of the Toronado 25th blend but a little sweeter. The tart acids linger for quite some time but the complex meaty flavors harken me back for another. I described the mouthfeel and lingering flavor as thick and meaty and the bartender said he thought it tasted a bit like salmon. Suddenly I could taste a marinated salmon all carmelized from the grill - power of suggestion or something more? By the end of this small pour the pour of the sour was evident and I was full pucker. Very powerful complex beer I won't soon forget.

PS: Had a taste of the Temptation 2011 on tap and did a side by side. Both had a similar sour/tart profile but the Temptation won out on the clean finish and smooth sweet Chardonnay aftertaste.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark brown with cherry brown accents. Dark slightly hazy beer with a small white head

S - Lactic acid, lots of cherry, lemon peel

T - Tart cherry up front, orange peel and tart lactic acid balanced against a malty back bone that reminds me of a brown ale

M - Lots of carbonation with a tart dry finish

O - One of the best Bruery sour I've had with lots of sour cherry tartness

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Photo of andrew84
3.67/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Super dark and cloudy looks like yeasty even though proper pour and sediment left behind, smells like A1 steak sauce with orange peel and oak, still drinks amazing, acidic, fruit, sour, berries, orange, oak, and tart. Super pedio and lacto, not much brett. Not what I expected but still good. Super sour and puckering.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 6.2.13

A - Pours a perfectly dark ruby-brown with a huge, and very active, light tan head that fades away quickly.

S - Tart, brown sugar, plums, cherry, figs.

T - A touch of tart cherry, then more fruits come out - Blackberry with some acidic wood.

D - Good carbonation with a light body, nice touch of tartness.

O - A nice tart and fruit mixture, not sure how this one has changed over time, but it is sure good now.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.02/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Big thanks to Sam for this one. A long time want of mine... and now my 900th review! 750ml bottle into Torst stemware. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a foamy, light cream colored head with poor retention. Beer is a dark, cloudy rust. Stringy and spotty lace with no cling. Thin, filmy legs. Average.

Nose is tart cherry, jammy sweetness, a touch of oak, acidity, and some leather. Aromatic. Good fruit character.

Opens tart cherry, acetone, crushed red fruit, and a mellow, sour soy sauce. Some leather and woodiness in the middle. End is more acetone, vinegar, and sour red fruit. Aftertaste of some barnyard funk and more woodiness. So harsh!

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and fizzy in the mouth and goes down like acetone. Very harsh. Messy, bubbly finish with a lingering, filmy aftertaste. Not the best.

Just like almost all of the Bruery's other sour ales, this one has turned almost completely into vinegar and acetone. The fruit is present but is very muted against present harsh flavors. The intense carbonation doesn't help matters. I wouldn't revisit this one and given the asking price on this one, I REALLY wouldn't revisit it.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.51/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This poured out as a hazy amber color with an off white head. The retention is nice with a pretty good lacing. The smell of the beer is of tart and fruity. The taste of the beer is very good, the fruit comes out really well the oak and there is a beautiful vanilla flavor with nice grape-like flavor. The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated with a dry finish. Overall very good sour, leaves a film in my mouth. Still very good stuff.

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Photo of warnerry
4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a tulip glass

A - Pours a beautiful clear brown-tinged ruby color with about one finger of light brown head.

S - Lots of fruit in the aroma, with cherry and blackberry leading the way. Also a big lactic acid presence with no detectable acetic acid that is often found in Bruery sours. The fruit aromas are mostly on the tart side, though some sweetness comes through. Funk presence is pretty mild, but definitely there.

T - Similar to the smell, the is a big fruit presence. Jammy blackberries and tart cherry juice. Lots of lactic acid and a decent amount of funk. I love how the taste manages to be tart, fruity and creamy all at the same time. Maybe a touch of acetic acid, but lactic acid dominates the sour flavor profile. A mild oak presence as well. Very nice.

M - As mentioned about, a nice and surprising creaminess to the mouthfeel. Nice amount of carbonation, making it just a touch prickly.

O - Easily my favorite of the Bruery sours I've had, and one of the best American Wilds I've had as well. Great flavor profile and mouthfeel.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into taster - thanks to gcphilli

Pours a lightly hazed auburn-cherry color with a foamy halo of white head resting on top. Retains with a collar of bubbled film and spotty lacing on the glass.

Plenty of berry character in the nose with oaky vinous notes. Wild yeasty funk and brett with blackberry and cherry. Acidic sourness with a hint of vinegar.

Jammy fruit sourness attacks the tongue right up front. Darkly sour with blackberry and cherry, ripe fruit and oak. Mild backbone with soft fruit sweetness. Acidic and dry, funky yeast, continuing sourness throughout. Finishes with a smack of oak and berries.

Lighter medium body, well carbonated, sticky, dry and lasting on the tongue. Really impressive, drinkable berry-forward sour, despite the age. I've had a bunch of wild ales from The Bruery and this might be the best one (except Oude Tart with sour cherries).

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Photo of starrdogg
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Thorpe for sharing this wale.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a thin white head. Smell is lactic sour, dark fruit (a la a Belgian Dark Ale), and oak - quite nice. Flavor follows the nose, with oak, cherry and other dark fruit, balsamic vinegar. What I really enjoy here is that there is other flavor here beyond just the sour, vinegar and oak, as there are nutty, malty notes hiding behind that. Mouthfeel is really quite nice - it's medium-bodied and mouth-coating. Overall, this is a pretty tasty dark sour that has more depth than most.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to thorpe429 for sharing this rare bottle. Thanks Mike!

The beer pours a very pretty muddy brown to reddish body with some slight fizzy head on top, it's pretty and looks to have some sediment in it which I like.

The smell has a very vinegar heavy funk to it but also with some graham cracker type malt too. A little bit of cherry on top.

The taste has a lot of cherry flavor and some nice tart funkiness again in the vinegar balsamic vein. A lot of tartness at the back of the palate, the more you drink the crazier it gets! A nice malt base to hold up the sour notes though, in a sort of vanilla honey graham cracker sort of way. Nice stuff.

The feel is nice and a little big thicker than I would have guessed it would be, very nice and it has a lot of flavor that really hits all taste centers on the palate.

Overall a nice wild ale, very tasty with a great lingering finish, great stuff.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.72/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Notes taken from a bottleshare at the Phoenix Sun in NYC. Thanks kindly to Mike (pretty sure Mike brought this one...all apologies if I got that wrong - converse with me and I will fix it) for sharing.

a - deep murky brown with 3 fingers of foamy head.
s - really nice sour smell. smarties. brett funk. sweet. berries.
t - WOOO that's good. Awesome even. great sweetness and great sourness. perfect balance. the berries in this are perfect. REALLY tasty.
m - sour, but not puckering. a bit prickly on the mouth.
t - overall i am blown away by this beer. berry sour with oak. blueberry and cherries mix great with the oak, just phenomenal.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.52/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for opening this with me, JealousChalice!

(Aged for 1+ year)

Hazed auburn and bright ruby with a nice crown of off-white, persistent bubbles crowning the top, eventually leaving thin ribbons and dots of stick down the glass. Very pretty.

Bright, expressive, fruit-forward aroma (cherries, blackberry, and currants), along with quite a bit of acidic sour character, a little vinegar, and only a mild funk.

An incredibly flavorful beer: big fruit notes (cherry and blackberry), with a huge level of sourness, complementary vinegar, and a bit of funk.

Medium bodied with moderate-high carbonation. Very nice.

Perhaps The Bruery's best sour.

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Photo of Rutager
4.59/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Bruery tulip.

Appearance. Pours a hazy rust-brown with two fingers of pale yellow/off-white head.

Smell. Whoa! Funky sour cherries, red apples and dark berries! It's a nice sweet hayloft funk with some dank old wood. Getting just a little cantaloupe as well.

Taste. Nice sour light fruits, cherries and some dark berries. Quite sour and tart without being anywhere near uncomfortable. Some good dry earthy funk and old wood as well. Very nice.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with strong, fine and smooth carbonation. Again, very nice.

Overall. Yes sir, this is how to do an American sour. Really enjoying this one.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.55/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Hefty head. Dark ruby body. Surface bubbles is all that's left after a few minutes.

Smell - Cherry aroma. Very malty. A little bit of vinegar in the aroma. Not terribly complex.

Taste - Vinegar is much more intense in the flavor. Cherries and a strong caramel malt. Not really sweet, at least, but malty. Acetic sourness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Good body, but maybe a bit heavy. Decent carbonation and nicely tart.

Overall - Sufficiently soured, but it's just a cherry sour. Cherry and vinegar. Hardly anything interesting about it. Too much acetic acid for me to really enjoy it. I would take a true Flanders Red over this.

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Photo of brystmar
4.48/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous pour; mountains of white head leave behind sticky lace. Strong, pungent aroma with wild American yeast, wine barrels, and sour fruits approaching my nose.

Love the taste! Tons of lacto & sour fruits, good acidity and tart fruits. Plenty of funky dark fruit, plums, yeast, lots of tasty sourness and fruity funk. A hair too much carbonation; easily remedied by waiting for it to warm in my glass.

The complexity of various ingredients in my glass would never come from a traditional Belgian blend master. Wanderer is exactly what I love about (and expect from) American sours. Fantastic!

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to buzbuzzer for the bottle

Poured deep garnet with a ton of carbonation right away although it dies down to a thin ring after a few minutes.

Aroma contains tart and sour berries, cherries and some lacto. Maybe a touch of brett and oak.

Starts out with some sweeter caramel malt along with sour cherries. Sourness is fairly strong throughout. Finishes very dry with blackberry and oak sourness coating the back of the tongue.

Light to medium bodied and perhaps a bit too much carbonation.

Not the best ever, but an enjoyable beer. I especially enjoy the tart blackberry on the finish. A little less carbonation would do this one well.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Bruery tulip because I am not an animal. Beer is a little bit of a gusher, beer is brownish red and really hazy with a big off white / tan head of small and medium bubbles, decent retention, high carbonation, some lacing.

Aroma is berries and tart, mild lactic, mild acetic, overall nice.

Beer is light in body and tart with a nice berry flavor throughout still mildly sweet on the body and a nice finish. I'd have this again for sure, I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.75/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to Mike (nerd) at DLD 2012. You hag!

A - Pours a darker reddish/brown color, off-white head, thin collar, spotty lace.

S - Fruit-forward, some tart acidity, oak, light vinegar (in a good way), hint of citrus. Reminds me of a Flanders Red or something similar to that style.

T - Dark sour cherries, fruits, oak, medium acidity, currants. Alcohol is well-hidden at 8%. Again, could possibly be called a Flanders Red. Finish is cherry and oak tartness.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, dry oak finish.

O - One of the better Bruery sours I've had in recent memory, but didn't exactly kill it for me. I would have again for sure, but wouldn't actively seek out this beer for what it commands in the "trading world". Good, not great.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

A bit of a gusher...The beer is hazy, appearing a dark brown / orange hue with a sizable off white head.

Cherries, berries, funk. This beer is very tart. Wow. Pucker. Alrighty then.

The beer is medium to full bodied. Alcohol shows itself more as the beer is allowed to warm. Highly acetic.

While I am extremely grateful to taste this rare delicacy from The Bruery, this one is not among their top offerings, in my opinion.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks again Jeff.

A: Pours a murky rust color with a decent light tan head. Wispy lace.
S: Tart dark fruits, red fruits, and a bit of funk. I get some barrel notes as well.
T: Very tart flavors, super sour with a bit of acetone and funk. Tannins and dry red fruit skins, wood, and some straw, earth, cocoa powder and herbal spices fill my palate. This is definitely tart.
M: Dry and tart mouth, medium body, smooth carbonation.
O: If I had this blind I could tell this is from the Bruery, it just has that sharp taste. This was a good sour though with a definite acidic red berry flavor. Thanks again Jeff.

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Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.97/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

- 2011 vintage
- Tapped at Bruery Tasting Room (opening day) on 4-Jul-12
- Poured into tasting snifter glass.
Oak and cherries dominate w/ hints of vanilla. You could just smell the depth and complexity. Tasting good oak presence and real sexy fruity complexity! Strong malt backbone w/toffee and caramel provide jammy texture. Getting some plums as well, which now I believe is the blackberries + cherries combo giving that sense. Very balanced vinegar and tartness.
Best sour I've had to date!

- 2011 vintage
- 750 mL bottle cellared on 16-May-12 and tasted on 4-Sep-12 (aged about 10 months).
- Poured into stemless wine glass.
Begins wth a fantastic gush of fruity complexity and tartness. Cherries, apple, plums, blackberries. Somewhat jammy. Then the 2nd phase hits with an oak, earthy flavors with creamy texture. Then the tartness finishes dry and left with hints of barrel and fruits in aftertaste.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to nerd for sharing this one at DLD 2012.

Pours a nice moderate brown color with a good off-white head and a bit of lacing. The nose brings a good bit of fruit along with a bit of acidity; perhaps a touch of acetic, though not nearly as much as with other Bruery sours I’ve had lately. Flavor is similar with a nice acidity. Body is medium with good carbonation and a dry, puckering finish. Pretty good for an American sour.

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The Wanderer from The Bruery
94 out of 100 based on 108 ratings.