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Tart Of Darkness - The Bruery

Tart Of DarknessTart Of Darkness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,400 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1400
Reviews: 283
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 11.43%

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: 1,400 | Reviews: 283 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of pepe_silvia


5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is perfection. Complex, strong from start to finish, biting acidity with huge, beautiful, full flavor to back it up. I would seriously trade one of my cousins for a bottle of this but we don't see each other very often so it's fine. Definitely not for the meek.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2014 01:03:39 | More by pepe_silvia
Photo of Beer-A-Lot


4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Raspberry red, not much head, but very nice color.

S - Red wine, grape, honey.

T - Delicious sour taste. Lots of raspberries. Not overly sweet, but instead pretty balanced.

M - Sticky, lots of terroir, slightly dry on finish.

O - Excellent sour. Easy drinker.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2014 17:27:41 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of TTAmod


4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap...10 oz. serving in a snifter.

A: Dark brown (nearly black) beer with a pretty thick off-white head to start with. The head dissipates very quickly and there's really nothing left after that.

S: Smell is pretty sour. Smells like cherries and other fruits with the unmistakable bacterial smell that sours are known for.

T: This trend continues into the taste, as well. Very, very strong sour notes along with mainly cherry. The sourness is relentless through the entire taste. No bitterness or roasted malt taste to speak of. Vinegar and strong fruit on the way out.

M: Pretty low carbonation...has the mouthfeel of a wine, almost. Body is pretty light. Easy drinking with no alcohol taste.

O: As usual, pretty good stuff from the Bruery. There's definitely enough sourness to make any sour lover happy. Not enough depth or complexity, though, and the appearance left much to be desired. Would recommend!

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2013 18:46:05 | More by TTAmod
Photo of davewlfpckfan29


3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is so pleasant! I have had it from the bottle before, and was lucky enough to find it on tap in Northampton, MA.

It pours a dark dark brown. Appearing as if it may be a stout!

Once you smell it, that is when you know that you are getting into something really nice.
So much of a sour fruit smell.

The taste! It's great! Its got that sour and tart cherry taste. With a nice creamy finish.

There is so much going on in the mouthfeel of this beer. It has so much character.

I want to drink more and more of this.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2013 03:52:26 | More by davewlfpckfan29
Photo of Auraan


4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep black with a very thin ring of tan head. It certainly looks like a stout. Scents of apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and red wine, with slight roast malt. The nose is certainly sour, not quite a RIS in scent. This carries over into the flavor. It's apple cider vinegar, sour funk, red wine and grapeskin, without many other flavors. It tastes quite sour and vinous, with none of the flavors I expected in a RIS. It's not bad, an excellent sour for sure, but less of a RIS. It was quite nice for what it was, indeed it was excellent. Mouthfeel is heavy bodied with moderate carbonation and a drying mouthfeel. It feels like both a stout and a sour, quite nice. Overall this is a good combination of a sour and a RIS, though the sour overwhelms much of the stout qualities. I'd recommend it if you like sours, but if you want a stout look elsewhere.

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2013 07:33:58 | More by Auraan
Photo of BMMillsy


3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Tried this one at the tasting room. Pours a dark brown to black with some ruby around the edges and a light khaki head. Aroma is sweet and sour chocolates, strangely enough, and some light vinegar that I get from the sour beers. Flavor follows with a lightly chocolates sour flavor, rather easy on the taste buds. It finishes with chocolate on the way down, but leaves a tinge of sour lingering on the to hue. Medium bodied. Very unique and they somehow made this work nicely. Would like to have this one again.

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2013 07:32:12 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of Axnjxn

North Carolina

4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

on draft at beer study in chapel hill.

pours a dark brownish red with a slight head. smell is huge on cherrys and sour goodness. taste remains true with a huge kick of sourness. lovely flavor and it really hits the spot. ABV undetectable. medium bodied, mild carbonation.

overall an exceptional flemish red!

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2013 22:25:54 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of cbutova


4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been meaning to review this one for ages. Finally got it on-tap Saturday at Dive Bar in Worcester. Reviewed from notes.

A- Black bodied ale poured from the taps to a goblet. Appears thin like a vinegar but not surprising because of the use of wild bugs outside of Sacch. Still very opaque nonetheless. Silky tan ring after a small foamy head falls down fairly quickly. Spotty webs of lace fall down the glass as I drink it.

S- Mostly a mix of lactic, acetic acidity that has a bit of a red fruit feel to it. You can tell this one will be pretty sour but it is inviting with just a bit of roast malts and cocoa behind it.

T- Moderately sour lactic and vinegar acids up front with sour cherries and stout in the finish. Reminds me of lemons at times with a smooth roasty grain bill beneath the sourness. Toasted nuts and cocoa hints from the grains.

MF- Foamy highly carbonated light, fairly dry body. Sour level grows to near some fruit Lambics but not puckering to me.

Big lactic flavors and pretty sour but the stout aspect comes through enough to make it super interesting. These flavors somehow work out and blend rather than being a mess like some might imagine from a sour stout.

Serving type: on-tap

09-12-2013 00:59:51 | More by cbutova
Photo of taylor714914


3.35/5  rDev -20.2%
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 dar482

New York

4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a dark black color, but not pitch black.

The aroma has tons of tartness, lactic sourness, a hint of roasty malt, and lots of vinegar.

The flavor follows with that tartness and sourness, but with a subtle punch of roasty malt a third of the way into the beer. It really is an exciting combination to get that chocolate malt balanced flavor with the bright sharp sour notes. The sourness is of plum peel and raspberries as the sourness just slowly takes over the entire tongue.

A really tasty sour that I could just drink tons of. The sweetness in there really compliments well with that puckering sourness.

(With a bottle aged a couple years, the aroma is extremely tart and sour along with the flavor. At first, you may get some of the stout/roast character, but the sourness really just stands out.)

Serving type: on-tap

08-25-2013 14:28:14 | More by dar482
Photo of mrchrisray

New York

4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Wow it's dark, hence the name I guess but I was surprised. Barely any head, big bubbles in it though.

Smells like sour fruit gummy candy, which I love. Picking up some berries and lots of sour apples. Not at all like a dark stout, and no alcoh taste.

Smooth and balanced in the mouth even with the sour. Some malts calm it down just a bit.

Definitely buy again.

Serving type: on-tap

08-21-2013 23:57:19 | More by mrchrisray
Photo of n2185

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours dark brown with two fingers of tan head that fades into a thin layer with good lacing.

S: tart and sour fruits up front with acetic vinegar aromas following. There are some slight funky and roasted notes underneath.

T: tart cherries and sour lemons dominate the flavor with a fair amount of acetic notes as well. Roasted malt flavors hide underneath with some funky barnyard notes. Very tasty.

M: medium-ligh body with lowish carbonation, this beer avoids being watery, but only just.

O: a nice sour overall. Not the most complex, but simple and delicious.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2012 17:09:15 | More by n2185
Photo of rfgetz

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, light rusty copper tint, some particles, little head. Scent leads with vinegar tartness, light roast, cherry and dark bread. Taste brings a quick hit of vinegar, then some roasted malts with a hint of chocolate, muted cherry, dark bread, light oak. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Taste develops more as it approaches room temperature. Solid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-24-2012 00:55:08 | More by rfgetz
Photo of BARFLYB


3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
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 johnmichaelsen


3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with fairly good head retention and light lacing. The nose is quite tart (as one would expect), but with some noticeable coffee and chocolate as well. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, with the tartness completely dominating the flavor profile. There's a hint of "roastiness" on the finish, but otherwise the tart flavor seems to overwhelm pretty much everything else. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a fairly long, tart/sour finish. Alcohol is barely discernable, as one would expect in a beer with this abv.

An interesting beer, but just not my cup of tea. One and done for me I think...

Serving type: on-tap

08-14-2012 21:13:51 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of Walshwi


4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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 set me back a bit; 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 hidden extremely well. It actually drinks fairly light.

Plan on sharing if you have a large bottle. This is definitely not something I would be able to drink in one sitting. Certainly one of my favorite sours - but no match for RRBC Supplication or Consecration.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2014 15:35:19 | More by Walshwi
Photo of BastardKing24


4.71/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark brown with a 1/2 finger head that becomes a ring quickly.

Smell is very tart, sour apples and cherries. Vinegar and lactic acid.

Taste is out of this world, so sour... I do love that about some sours they just pucker up your mouth and make it water. Green sour apples and cherries, maybe some funkiness, just a mouthwatering acidic punch, and I love it. Not much of any roastiness.

Feel is low to medium carbed and light on the palate. Very pleasing.

This is by far one of the best sours I've had, I think I like it more than Oude tart.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 03:57:03 | More by BastardKing24
Photo of Ed2


4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Incredible... Mouth watering... saliva creating.. the best I've ever had. I love sour and I love Stout... and this one took it all the way ! It's hard to find and a bit expensive but sooo worth it ! It's my special day beer. Dark like a stout, but incredibly light tasting nearing an Ale in feel... Smell is very alluring, draws you in with a sour hint and then slaps you once you've put it in your mouth. Makes my mouth water... I've had others from the same brewer and they are all good, but the Stout is by far my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 21:01:24 | More by Ed2
Photo of LambicPentameter


4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed out of a brown 750 mL bottle with a date etched into the side of the glass--unfortunately the day is illegible, but I can tell that it was bottled in May 2013. Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack tulip glass.

Appearance - Well, it has the look of a stout, with a body that is black with just a subtle twinge of walnut brown preventing it from being jet black. No light passes through--at least none that is bright enough to overcome the reflective nature of the glass. Atop the body sits a one-and-a-half finger tan head from an aggressive pour, so the bubbles are big and soapy looking. Retention is moderate, leaving sparse bits of sticky lacing on the glass and a thin film of suds on the surface of the liquid after the head fades away

Smell - I expected a clash of sour and roast characteristics, but the acidic nature of this beer is by far the primary characteristic. The roasted profiles are a very distant complement to the overall acidity, which encompasses some aggressive lactic tartness as well as impressions of sour cherries and really sour Granny Smith. There is a subtle note of roasted malt, but it is difficult to pick out amongst the more sour characteristics.

Taste - Mouth-puckering sour cherry and less dominant hints of apple cider vinegar, with fruity notes reminiscent of black currant and raspberry jam. Here, the roasted component is a little more detectible, but it's still an afterthought--this is firmly a sour beer, with very little remaining of the base beer. Really, the darker malts work to impart a sweetness, that after several drinks, starts to remind me a bit of a Flanders Oud Bruin, with the malty sweetness providing a counterpoint to the aggressive tartness.

Mouthfeel - Medium-to-light bodied and moderate carbonation, with significant sour twinges in the backs of your cheeks, and a drying finish.

Overall, a delicious beer if you like styles that don't hide their sour characteristics. I wouldn't come into this one expecting much from the stout side of the equation--really, the stout provides more in the way of color and appearance than it does with the aroma and flavor. Not sure I'd go out of my way to get this again, given the fact that The Bruery doesn't distribute to my area, but it is a tasty beer to be sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 14:45:42 | More by LambicPentameter
Photo of itsscience


4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some orange goop had collected around the rim of the bottle while it was conditioning and I got it on my fingers when I opened the bottle. The beer is dark brown in appearance with a fizzy head that disappears immediately. Plenty of carbonation bubbles are left sticking to the side of the glass. The smell is vinegary with hints of grape and cherry. After a bit of a sweet fruit taste at the front of the tongue, the taste explodes with potent sourness. It finishes with a bready yeast taste to balance it out. Mouthfeel is medium to watery.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 16:41:03 | More by itsscience
Photo of Fcolle2


4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours earthy brown somewhat clear in color with a thin light tan head that dissipates quickly.

Smell has lots of tart brett notes with primarily a vinager like acidity.

Taste follows the nose with a toffee slight malty sweetness that disappears quickly into a very potent tart vinager sour flavor and mild candy like sweet ness on the backend which is reminiscent of sweet tarts.

Mouthfeel is good, big sticky sour feel that is cut with moderate carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 01:01:47 | More by Fcolle2
Photo of BeerKangaroo


3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
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 laituegonflable


3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish dark brown. Head is pale beige, thin rim of lace really. Doesn't really cling. Looks a bit lacklustre.

Smells a bit on the funky tart side. Some mild chocolate malt notes, but large amounts of balsamic, some vinous character and a touch of port. Bit subdued, but what's there is nice.

Taste is interesting. I accidentally gulped down my first taste and it was a bit of a baptism of fire. More slowly savouring now, and it's got a sweet vanilla note upfront which is a bit odd. Develops lots of big tart notes - vinegar acidity mixing with brown sugar and fortified wine. Really tart though, crisp with an underlying berry fruit character that makes it very appealing. Finishes puckering, though, which is a shame. Otherwise the feel is fluid - a bit of body but mostly just a pull from that acidity.

Nice dark lambic style beer. Impressively sour, but enough good flavour around the edges to keep it interesting and appealing.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 03:15:12 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of BEERchitect


4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Incredible sourness laid upon a dark and mysterious base. Flavors come out in new and evoking ways with dark grains, fruit and palate-piercing acidity. Aptly named, Tart of Darkness is as ominous, dreary and shaddowy as it sounds.

Opening with a dark plumb color with tawny bronze low lights, the beer simmers in the glass with tepid carbonation to give the ale a slight coffee-like appearance. Its dark and ruddish appearance is slightly haze and gives the ale a rather rusty darkness. Sparse on lacing, the ale almost prefers wine-like appearances over that of ale.

Savory and tart, the aromas nearly cause sweating and mouth whetting with its utter sour fruit character. Black cherries, plumbs, blackberries, blackcurrants and red grapes give a highly tangy but robust scent. A musty aura of sea air, weathered oak and saddle leather add to the beer's boisterous scent. However, its the vinous wine-like character that joins into notes of soy sauce, coffee grounds, dark chocolate and balsamic for a highly complex nose.

To taste, the beer's fruit strikes first- plumb and black cherry leading the way. But the savory sourness rises next with balsamic, merlot, sour plumbs, tangy berries and grapes to give the beer a wildly wine-like and briny character. Its thin sweetness seems to give the dark fruit a sense of "ripeness" before its dry cider taste takes hold. Yet a toastier, chocolaty and coffee taste lurks deep in the backdrop and assists in the beer's bold complexity.

Medium-dry early, the beer's dark fruit and slim sweetness thwarts its light carbonation to go from creamy to toasty-dry in a hurry. Its jaw-piercing acidity provides plumb skin astringency to heighten its sourness in finish.

I see this as a Flanders Red turn Oud Bruin, turn Sour Porter in the most unique and seductive way possible. Its a procession into a direction that allows its darker side to assist in its sour dryness. Simply sublime at every turn.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2014 18:14:14 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of pknyc

New York

4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 5/13/13, opened 2/1/14.

A: Aggressive pour. One finger of dark head that very quickly dissipates to zero head. No lacing. Very dark brown to place. Some ruby around the edge. Similar to coca-cola.

S: Tart & sour. Some lactic and citric acid. Very little roast as the tartness is upfront and center.

T: Tart & sour, just like the nose. Some juice. Does not taste like a stout, but more of a sour black ale.

M: Thinner than I had expected based on the label referring to the beer as a stout. More like a sour black ale.

O: It was not what I expected, but it was still very good. Just don't expect a stout.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 22:49:08 | More by pknyc
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Tart Of Darkness from The Bruery
94 out of 100 based on 1,400 ratings.