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Tart Of Darkness - The Bruery

Tart Of DarknessTart Of Darkness

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1,395 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1395
Reviews: 283
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 11.4%

Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Batch 2 was aged in spent Black Tuesday barrels.

(Beer added by: ajcobb24 on 06-22-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,395 | Reviews: 283 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of JonBarrowman

New Jersey

1.93/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I got this as my first sour beer so please keep that in mind in relation to what follows.

a - It appears opaque and a little cloudy around the edges.

s - Smells like a wine, with a slight vinegar smell and a mix of other things I can't put into words.

t - This is where I have a problem, it tastes like vinegar, I don't know if there was a stout or cherries in there somewhere but I didn't find them. It was somewhat unpleasant.

m - Nothing I can think of.

This is my first sour beer and was certainly not what I expected after reading reviews here. Maybe someone can recommend something more amenable as an introduction into the world of sour beers for someone hesitant to try and select on their own again.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2013 22:41:48 | More by JonBarrowman
Photo of DarthKostrizer


2.08/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared a bottle with BHOBS and Alucard4

Look: Black as night with a 1/4 tan head and no retention

Smell: Right off the bat are hints of sour cherry not really what I am looking for in a stout. If you search hard enough you will find hints of chocllate malt and some oak

Taste: The sourness that is overpowering hides all of the characteristics of a stout. All you pick up is the sour cherry it is a one way street in my opinion as far as taste goes. The taste is not bad but it is in no way a stout

Mouthfeel: Very water for a stout with a medium amount of carbonation

Overall: If you go in thinking this is a stout you will be let down because this is essentually a sour made with black patent or chocolate malt or roasted barley. It looks like a stout and that is about it. If you are a fan of sours you will appreciate this beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2011 19:18:18 | More by DarthKostrizer
Photo of Givemebeer


2.35/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle share. Poured into a snifter with high hopes.

A: Looks ok. Deep, dark amber color with a small tan head not much lacing.

S: Sour. Apple, pear.

T: Excuse me, but isn't this a sour stout? Where are the roasted malts? Where's the coffee? Chocolate? The sour taste is nice but the wild yeast completely takes over and smacks you in the face leaving no room for the so called "stout."

M: Too thin. When I think stout - I want something full bodied and thick. Not watery like this is.

O: Disgraceful. Don't call this a sour stout and charge $23 a bottle. If this were a regular sour I could understand but this was devoid of any stout qualities. Ridiculously overpriced. Pass on this for the love of God.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2013 07:17:20 | More by Givemebeer
Photo of snegopady

New Jersey

2.43/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer LOOKS beautiful, but I dunno, guys. I like funky and I like sour; loved the Oude Tart. But this is Warheads sour. If there was ever a stout in there, it has vanished beneath the aggressive, lemon-juicy sourness. I don't see how anyone could call this "balanced"--the sour is so strong that it takes over everything. Seriously, you could make vinaigrette with just this beer and some olive oil.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 14:43:05 | More by snegopady
Photo of maximum12


2.65/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Shared by the trio of DalzAle, MatSciGuy, & ArminJewell, thanks guys. This is one I haven't see in the wild yet.

Pour is dark brown shading into black. Smells like a fruit-infused beer, not much else.

Tart of Darkness isn't my cup of tea, though I was in the minority. Mild roast faces off against the red fruit tartness & is quickly subsumed. The stoutishness is in full retreat almost immediately, & by the time the beer warms, this is a full-on bug beer. Not interested in more than a couple ounces.

Just didn't do anything for me; my first taste of a 'soured' stout & if this is representative of the style, it might be the style, not this specific beer, that just doesn't agree with me.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 18:22:31 | More by maximum12
Photo of Dennoman


2.8/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from a trade, shared with the guys. Great evening again! 2012 bottling, so not the Provisions Series.

A: Looks adequate for a stout. Nice and dark, light frothy head.

S: Very interesting. The biggest thing I get from the smell is charred toast. And I mean charred, not just burnt. Best described as a mix between toasted bread and charcoal.

T: Mostly acidity throughout most of the actual taste and swallow, but slight malty bitterness pops up at the very beginning. Not hugely complex, even slightly unpleasant.

M: Chalky, quite unpleasantly sour.

O: I guess this is a perfect manifestation of the morbid American fascination with all things sour. In this case (gratuitous pun inbound!) I guess it all turned a little sour. All in all a little too extreme for what I think they were going for. Good effort, but that's just about everything I can say really.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2012 11:27:25 | More by Dennoman
Photo of Sludgeman

District of Columbia

2.98/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A bomber bottled on 5-8-12 (approx 9 months old). Lot 35. Purchased for $21.79.

A- Pours thin black and opaque with little to no head (tan).

A - Tart, sweet with a little funk.

T - Initially I got that taste you get when you have a bad burp and some stomach acid makes its way into the back of your throat. Sour, acidic and dry.

MF - Smooth

O - A huge disappointment. Drain pour for the remainder of the bottle. Roasted malts - No! Stout - No! Bottle says suitable for aging up to 3 years. I might try it again, but as a taste and only at three years.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2013 02:05:01 | More by Sludgeman
Photo of beertunes


3.01/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Shared with OKComputer. Poured into tulip. Poured a mostly solid black, some cloudy reddish-brown at the edges, color with just a thin cap of off-white head that had low retention and lacing.

The aroma had a nice tartness at the front that quickly gave way to to a light fruit scent. The beer had a very low, almost unnoticeable, malt aspect. Kind of a flaw in a Stout, IMHO. Pretty similar on the tongue, nice tartness upfront, some fruit in the middle, and very low malts at the back, alongside the sharp finish.

The body was very thin, especially for a Stout, but did have a clean, dry finish. Drinkability was good, the beer went down smooth and easy. Overall, a pretty nice brew, but probably not worth the $21+tax price tag. Probably worth trying, but that will depend on your wallet.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2013 17:23:54 | More by beertunes
Photo of EgadBananas


3.15/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours black. Not pitch black, but black. Head was initially a robust 2 finger of tan colour, dissipating very quickly to nothing. Ends up being this still, black, uncarbonated-looking beer. It's still carbonated, but just, well, still. The aroma is unique. Though, it takes a good bit of inspection to draw it out. Of course, it's tart and sour. Not profusely though or over the top. There is some subtle oak notes and if you really dig, some roasty and mild stout characters. The taste is just one dimensional to me. I don't mind the sour notes, but beyond that, there just wasn't much there. Tart, sour, acidic, pears, apple skins.... it just doesn't develop really beyond that. Lets face it, it's light in body. It doesn't even have an American Stout type light body. It's thin, almost watery. I know it's technically a wild ale, but the base stout should come through.

This was just disappointing to me. It julfilled it's sour obligations, but didn't do anything to expand upon that aspect. Meh.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2012 22:22:41 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of Walshwi

3.18/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had it out of a 750ml bottle.

Pours very black, almost no head.

Smells tart, with roast and slight sweetness.

Smacks you initially with tartness. Stout flavors come in. First sip was not appealing; however, I continued and found it to be interestingly balanced. The combination works best in small sips and quick swallows. If you don't do that, you get too much tartness or stout flavor. Alcohol is hid extremely well. It actually drinks fairly light - not heavy at all.

Plan on sharing if you have a large bottle. This is definitely not something I would be able to drink in one sitting. It's an above average beer primarily due to its uniqueness. Good to try, but this is the last time I'll have it. Good on The Bruery to spice things up.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2012 01:11:09 | More by Walshwi
Photo of djs467


3.3/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2013 Vintage 750mL bottle.

A: Black night dark with a decent head and good retention
S: Sour apples and oak.
T: Sour, sour, sour, sour, sour and also sour.
M: A little bit thin and fizzy for a stout, but not for a sour, so I'm not sure what to expect here. I am assuming the base beer is a stout and then soured, so I am not sure why the body is thin.
Overall: An interesting beer and certainly one-of-a-kind, but it's not balanced enough for me. It's probably the most sour beer I've had in quite some time and the stout flavor profile is unrecognizable. If you like your sours to be sour and unbalanced, this is your beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2013 19:55:44 | More by djs467
Photo of SpeedwayJim

New York

3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to ipa247 for this one. 750ml capped bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303

Thin light mocha colored head with little retention. Beer is opaque black. Lacing is stringy and spotty with decent stick. Average for the style.

Smoky and slightly tart with roasted malt, lacto, and some dark fruit. Appropriate.

Opens dark cherries with some smokiness and liquorice. Very sour. Roasted malt tartness towards the middle and ends cherry puree. Filmy, sour aftertaste with some dark chocolate notes mixed in.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. A bit thin. Prickly and sharp in the mouth. Filmy going down. Long, lingering aftertaste. Nice and crisp.

Overall what I'd expect from a dark sour. Some smokiness and dark fruit. Nice complexity with a solid feel. Decent but really not my favorite style.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2012 01:39:46 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of smonice

New Jersey

3.35/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my first review and unfortunately it isn't a good one. I bought this bottle after reading all of the hype just to give it a try. I guess when I read tart, I thought it wasn't going to completely overpower the "beer" taste.

As soon as it my mouth, it felt as if I had a mouth full of those sour warhead candies. It lingered for a few seconds and then the finish was rather smooth. At that point I couldn't taste anything else but the tartness. I guess it is an acquired taste.

A: Very dark color with little head and lacing.

S: The smell was very good and did not prepare me for the tartness to come.

T: Super sour up front and mellow at the end.

M: Moderate carbonation.

O: Not my thing but definitely opened my eyes to a different class of beer.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2012 23:59:01 | More by smonice
Photo of taylor714914


3.35/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours a thin black color, mixing deep browns in with it with no head


Smells lactic and slightly roasted as well as a hint of astringency. 


Taste is interesting.  Out of the bottle, this was a completely one dimensional beer.  On tap, it is a 1.5 dimensional beer.  It starts with lactic sourness, fades dark roasted grains, and then finishes with an apricot like finish.


Mouthfeel is a little too carbonated for my preference.


Overall, a highly overhyped overrated beer  7 bucks for a 6 ounce pour, or 25 bucks a 750?  No thanks.  This is not in the same league as other sours deserving that price.  I just don’t understand the Burery hype? Overpriced and under delivered.  I think this beer was done as a sour mash and not with bacteria and wood aged.  I think this would have been a crazy awesome beer had it been done like a traditional sour in wood barrels, but the layers of flavor and complexity are missing for me. 

Serving type: on-tap

09-11-2013 18:31:11 | More by taylor714914
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.38/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A dark otter-brown pour yields flat black results in the glass accompanied by a healthy 2 figner khaki colored head that was frothy and clumpy. Retention was good, the lacing was clean and the visible carbonation was light and slow along the edges.

S: The smell of sour cherries and sour plums were noticeable on the nose. Some sour chocolate malt with a light strength was also present. A faint sour-acetic hint can be had towards the finish.

T: The flavor was highly acetic from the get go, major eye squinting material. Had thier flanders the previous night and it was no wheres near this level. This is a kick of vinegar and acetic nature that unfortunately drowns out most of the other aspects this beer may have had to offer. Am i wrong to assume that this was some kind of sour stout? the lack of roasted maltiness and body will tend to convince me otherwise. Some sour fruitiness, but the stout qualities are far my expectations and almost non-apparent. Flavor is thin, like watery lemon juice and every bit as sour.

M: Oily slickness thins out to a watery vinegar-lemon juice feel toward the end. No carbonation, just a healthy helping of sourness and acetic nature.

O: Not going to lie this is one hard bastard to down by one's self. Like sucking down 24oz. of lemon juice. Its level of sourness is balls to the wall but its range of flavor and stout qualites leave much to be desired. Like dropping lemon juice into a schwarz bier. Thier Flanders was a fine example, managable sourness and exceptional to style, this was a sour with a misleading stout labeling. Your gonna have to split this with a friend, or two, or three.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 00:21:12 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of dirtylou


3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, split

appearance: served in my delirium chalice, dark mahogany body, active carbonation - beige bubbles, light lace

smell: dry roast, sour metal, tart sugars

taste: The sour stout phenomenon (not quite...) is not something I really support - the flavor profiles just dont mesh on my palate. Tart of darkness brings it with the puckering effect, but the dry chalky roast is just not palatable.

mouthfeel: sour, dry

overall: just not my thing

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2012 01:14:34 | More by dirtylou
Photo of derftron


3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2013 bottle split with friends into a snifter

smelled great. sour cherry stout smell. dark and fruity

poured very dark like a stout, mild carbonation and lacing

mouthfeel was nice. pretty standard

taste was very very sour. dont get me wrong, I love sour beers but this one was way out of balance. the souring agent completely took over and left very little to taste. I really was searching for the fruit that I could smell, but it was buried beneath the sourness. pretty let down given the price and reputation of The Bruery. I can name 20 sour beers that are better than this one. maybe aging would help, but I doubt it.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 18:48:11 | More by derftron
Photo of BARFLYB


3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Devil's Den in Philadelphia.

Tart of Darkness pours out a very black color, not jet black but black enough. A good skim of tan bubbles forming a smooth cap up top, some sticking on the glass surprisingly. The scent is pretty straight forward, some roast and some bugs, I don't pick up any oak or the such, just lacto and the guys. Small traces of cocco and tootsie roll with warming and some faint malt. Wow, this is a sour beer, I thought this would be easy, yet the sour is pumped up. I get a lot of lactic feeling with some berry, blackberry, roast malt, cocco, tootie roll etc. While sour, it's not an integrated sour that leads to a satisfying finish. I get battery acid on the tounge with tartness, small relief from the small stout base. Body is a step up from light. Eye opening. While I appreciate the effort and base style used in this, I just could not drink a ton of it.

Serving type: on-tap

08-19-2012 00:20:13 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of DavoleBomb


3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. Batch 2 (2012) from the super awesome Black Tuesday barrels. Big thanks to bigsippin for helping this get to me.

3.0 A: Black color. Two and a half fingers of foamy tan head. Retention is below average as it quickly fizzes away and no lacing is left. Edit: Strange enough, the final pour with lots of yeast made really sticky lacing.

3.5 S: Tart and moderately acetic nose. Big cherry component along with mixed berry. Balsalmic vinegar with tangy lactic funk. Light roastiness. Not a lot of the more typical funk components overall though. No basement or barn. Rather, this is more fruity and vinegary. The Black Tuesday comes out as this warms up. You can detect the residual leathery bourbon and chocolate.

3.5 T: Like the nose, this is all about fruit and vinegar. Loads of tart cherries and berries. Balsalmic vinegar and vinous tart grape. Some tangy funk, moderate roastiness, and hints of coffee and chocolate. Again, not a lot of traditional funk. Oak with just the slightest hint of tannins.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Not really creamy at all. Reasonably smooth considering how acetic it is.

3.5 D: I'm starting to feel that the Bruery should start making artisanal vinegars instead of wild ales. Most of the stuff they make is acetic acid-forward. While still good, I'm more of a fan of complex funk (which is why I choose 3F over Cantillon most of the time). In any case, I'm glad I have a few more since this will definitely scratch the acetic sour itch that I get occasionally.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2012 00:30:34 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of craytonic

District of Columbia

3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown mahogany pour
Smell: Light roasted malt, slight sourness (think Oude Tart), chocolate, sour cherries, oak, leather
Taste: Similar to the aroma, sour but too malty with the dark malts muddling the sour cherries, oak, and leather.
Body: medium-full body with light carbonation
Overall: The stout element is overbearing, I assume it is some blend of Oude Tart and something else.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2012 02:22:12 | More by craytonic
Photo of BeerKangaroo


3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What looks like its etched in the side of the bottle: 05/22/13.
Thanx Jimi.

Into a tulip.

A: the pour is a dark brown hinging on close to a black color that ends up leaving a black colored body, one finger white foamy head that doesn't cling, no lacing

S: super funky tart and sour up front, light roasty sidenotes try to make their way forward but really don't, somewhat vinous

T: sour and tart yet the roasty sidenotes come in to assist but makes me pucker alot, super strong sour aftertaste, quick dry sour and tart finish

M: sits about a medium on the body with not much of a sessionability quality as it shows that it wants to be a sipper, carbonation is fairly smooth

O: a "sour stout aged in oak barrels," well The Bruery did what one would want when it comes to what is on the label. Good for them. For me, I guess I'm glad I tried it, but for the most part, just too expensive to have again as I saw what my friend paid for it. Wine lovers who are trying more beers, this is definitely for you.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2014 23:13:17 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.53/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a deep brown with great carbonation at first leaving a sexy tannish cap, loads of bubbles which fade to a thin ring around the hedges

S: Sour funk with Earthy wood, vinegar with whiffs of chocolate

T: Starts with a nice acidic sour vinegar with dark cherries with some cocoa notes with a long lingering lacto finish and acid sting. Actually to much. I find some elements of spent wood and some Earthy notes in there but very light. I find it to be a little

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated for the style, loads of nice acidic sourness really stick a=to the palate

O: Good? Yes. Worth the hype? Negative.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2012 02:57:30 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of nataku00


3.53/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 bottle poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours out like cola, dark brown but with lighter clear brown at the edges. Half a finger of tan color head on the pour that dissipates immediately leaving no lacing. Plenty of fine carbonation at the edges of the glass.

Nose is mainly a vinegar acidity, maybe some molasses sweetness, light citrus. Not much stout coming through.

Taking a sip, balsamic vinegar and some molasses sweetness, some chocolate mid tongue, before finishing very dry with a red wine tannin like feel remaining on the tongue.

Light to medium body and heavily carbonated, but more champagne like with ample fine carbonation that keeps the tongue fresh. Pretty easy to drink and enjoyable, but not that interesting.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 04:04:49 | More by nataku00
Photo of seeswo


3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Lost Abbey stem. American Stout, btw, seems to be the wrong designation for this beer.

Pours very dark brown with an off-white head. Looks fine. The nose is funky cherry fruit, oak and maybe some port. It smells decent enough. I get almost none of the 'stout' other than the slightest touch of roasted/chocolate malts. This beer tastes like a pretty normal sour beer. If you closed your eyes, you would have a hard time telling me that this was a stout that was soured. Pretty strong flavors of tart cherry. Acidic and highly carbonated. Dry and light in body. Just pretend it is a run-of-the-mill sour and use that as your guide as to whether you are interested.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2011 13:17:47 | More by seeswo
Photo of nlmartin


3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer was chilled and served in a snifter.

A- The body of the beer is black with ruby opaqueness when held to the light. The head was fizzy and short lived.

S- The aroma of the beer lightly roasted malt leading into a acetic wine / tart cherry aroma.

T- The flavor of the beer is puckeringly tart and moderately acidic upfront. A brief lighlty roasted sweetend malt flavor comes out and is swallowed up into the tartness of cherries / red wine. The lactic tone of the beer again reassert themselves at the finish.

M- The body of the beer is light and well carbonated. The acetic and sourness of the beer can be puckering at times but welcome.

O- This beer is good but not great. The price point of the beer is a bit high for simply a good beer. I would buy again if this beer was around $14 a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 06:07:23 | More by nlmartin
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Tart Of Darkness from The Bruery
94 out of 100 based on 1,395 ratings.