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Tart Of Darkness - The Bruery

Not Rated.
Tart Of DarknessTart Of Darkness

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343 Reviews
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Reviews: 343
Hads: 2,277
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 11.33%
Wants: 290
Gots: 770 | FT: 85
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ajcobb24 on 06-22-2011

Batch 2 was aged in spent Black Tuesday barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 343 | Hads: 2,277
Photo of leroybrown10
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small creamy looking tan head. Head dissipates quickly leaving little lacing behind. Some deep red and brown highlights when held to the light.

Aroma is heavy acetic acid. Some tart cherry. Roasted malt and oak at the end.

Tart cherry, mild roast malt and and some lacto funkiness. Some oak and leatheriness. Fruity on the back end. More cherry as well as grape, lemon, raspberry and gooseberry.

Tart mouth feel with some dryness at the end. Induces a slight pucker but is not overly sour. Medium carbonation. There was a noticeable hiss when I popped the cap.

Overall a good beer but not exceptional. At $20/bottle, I am not likely to try this again. It is supposed to be a stout/sour hybrid, but I only picked up hints of the stout flavors. Blind taste test, I would have identified it as a straight sour/wild ale.

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Photo of mr-jj
3.61/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the Bruery

Pours very dark - almost black. Much more tart than I expected, given the barrel aging. A very good sour ale with a nose and taste of sour cherries with some maltiness. A good beer, but dominated by the tartness.

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Photo of Tylertut
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Bruery - Tart of Darkness
Teku Glass

Look (4): Beer appears to be very thin like most sours, not thicker and tackier like a stout would be. Its almost as close to black without being black as you can get. Its a very very dark brown, letting through almost no light when held up light source.

Smell(3.75): Has a pleasant roasted malt smell that is the main one. It also has a slightly funky yeasty smell that is trying to compete with the roasty smell. Almost has a sweet smell at the end but that might be a stretch.

Taste(4.5): It starts off with a slight sour taste but then opens up into a oak and sweet roasted malt taste. The beer then quickly shoots to a powerful sour taste. The finish, once the puckering sour fades, is that of wild yeast. The sour almost comes across as overpowering but it fades just enough to be very enjoyable. I was shocked to feel a buzz from this beer, it doesn't taste like a 10% beer at all

Mouthfeel(4): Following the appearance, it has a very thin feel but goes down a bit thicker. It also has a slight burn in the back of my mouth, not an alcohol burn, but a more acidic burn that I've been associating with most sours I've had. It has a light carbonation that has an effervescent quality.

Overall(4.25): I am pretty new to sour beers, this only being about my 4th and so far this is my second favorite. This beer drinks like a lighter beer, as I'm sure most sours do. I'd have some trouble calling this a stout, but it is damn good. I'll be picking this up again if I ever come across it.

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

I've got to say, I heard a lot of mixed things about the Bruery, so when I found this on tap at Binny's, I initially wasn't sure it was worth a shot. Glad I tried it, though.

As the name implies, the beer is very dark, to the point of looking like a stout if you don't hold it up to the light. Head is thin and light.

Tastes like dark berries; lots of sour, and, of course, tartness. Delicious!

I can't profess to be an expert on sours whether American or otherwise, but this is the type I like. More fruity than something like a Supplication, this stuff was very tasty.

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Photo of badun
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

I was excited to find this beer locally as I love sours and the taste potential of a full-bodied stout made me willing to pay twice what I'd normally say is my limit for a beer (I paid $20). I opened it on Christmas Eve, intending to share it with my brother-in-law (who is willing to try anything but is much less adventurous than me when it comes to beer). I took one sip and knew that he was going to reject it! In short, this beer is nothing but strong tartness. It is to most sours what citric acid is to a ripe orange. From the same family, but not the same.

I made a sour of my own a few years ago and it was very similar in taste to this beer. Except that it didn't cost me $20 a bottle. Ultimately my disappointment is due to the high price of the beer (and thus high expectations) and the optimistic labeling that implies more stout flavor than I was able to get out of it.

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Photo of Mcwill51
4.91/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

April 2014 bottle. A - black with a hint of brown. Almost no head. Reminds me of coca-cola actually. N - sour cherries, apples, plums, maybe some muted vanilla, some roasted malts, plenty of oak barrel. T - sour cherries, plums, apples, roasted malt, a truckload of sourness and lots of oak barrel. M - a bit creamy, low carbonation, a sticky sweet sourness that coats the mouth and lingers. O - one of, if not my favorite beer. If I have any complaints, it is the sticky mouthfeel that lingers. Otherwise, it is my go to sour.

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Photo of imscotty
3/5  rDev -27.7%

A: Pours dark brown and opaque. The a light tan head forms and dies.

S: The tart sour aromas are evident from across the room. Not getting much else than musky sourness.

T: Wow, very tart and acidic. Has a very dry finish leaving a sensation in your mouth like when you drink unsweetened cranberry juice. Not much malt, hop or other stout characteristics that I can detect. Super sour.

M: Light bodied, modestly carbonated with a super dry finish.

O: This bear is too sour for me. I enjoy sours but I am looking for other flavors too. This might be a fun refresher on a hot hot summer day, but I could not drink this in quantity. Honestly after a half-pint the acidity was getting to my stomach and I drain poured the rest. I do not understand why beers like this are almost always found in bombers, in smaller quantities I might have some interest, but this is just too much.

Sorry if my score seems too harsh. This beer is not badly executed for what it is, but it is just not for me. It would like to have seen the sourness glanced with some stout characteristics.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$20 bottle. Bottled 4/24/14 and poured 11/20/14. The bottle says the fresher the better, so we'll see. I hadn't seen this specific beer at my bottle shop before, and I read some great things about it, so I made the plunge.

Appearance: Aggressive pour gave a super loud hiss of carbonation with a little dark brown head that fizzled away faster than I've ever seen in a beer -- left is no sign of carbonation. It sits in the glass looking like fruit juice. Held to light, this is a ruby black color with perfect clarity.

Smell: Talk about an aroma hard as hell to describe. I can pick up notes of... everything. First and foremost, obviously, yeasty funk. After that, I'm picking up -- or imagining -- all sorts of things: grapes, dates, red wine, maraschino cherries, leather. It's just really hard to accurately describe this beer's aroma. I will say that I don't think it smells like a stout much at all. I guess if I really think about it I can pick up an essence of chocolate or something like that, but in a blind tasting, I probably wouldn't pick up on that aroma.

Taste/feel: Just call it Tart of Tartness. Hits the tongue with a moderate mouthfeel all-around -- the carbonation works nicely with the sourness as a way to get the salivary glands going. The taste is about identical to the aroma, I think, with the grapes, red wine, maraschino cherries, and yes, leather. The "essence of chocolate" thing doesn't come through at all in the flavor of this beer though. The sourness is reasonably high on this beer, but it's not the sourest beer I've had. The sourness/tartness is reminiscent of cranberry juice, I think. Tart of Darkness still has a good punch of it though (naturally), and it's got a super dry finish.

I'm left a little bummed out. Maybe I'm just getting a little annoyed with Bruery's pricing, or I'm just expecting too much. Whatever it is, I think people are overrating this beer a little bit just because it's their way of trying to compensate for the price they paid for this beer. It's a great beer, but the price is just too high for me to seek it out again. Where are the stout characteristics? They're basically nowhere to be found. I was intrigued by the idea of a sour stout, but this doesn't taste like one at all. It's a very good beer I'd probably recommend to others to at least try, but again, the price makes it too high to make it worth returning to -- at least for the next few years. And whenever I do get it again, I'll be aging it a couple years or so to see how it turns out.

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Photo of charlzm
3.06/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Consumed from a recent vintage bottle on November 17th, 2014. Poured into a Bruery tulip (hey, proper glassware!). Serving temperature: 50 degrees F.

Beer pours more or less black. A heavy pour is required to coax a head out of this brew. The resulting half-finger of off-white foam does not stick around long and soon the glass is totally bereft of all traces of a head. No legs in evidence. Beer is very still in glass.

Aroma is sour cherries. Period, full stop. I really didn't get anything at all from it but an acidic sour fruitiness.

Flavor is tart (surprise!). Think of Popeye and that's probably what I looked like drinking this. Aside from the assertive, acidic sourness, there is a very mild note chocolate from the dark malts. Low/no bitterness. The flavor is very one-dimensional, though no flaws are in evidence.

Mouthfeel is still and slightly thin.

I'm surprised by all the love for this beer. I found it to be drinkable but not much else. If the stout character was more evident, then this beer may have been more interesting. As it is, I finished the bottle myself but I don't think I'll be buying this one again.

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Photo of Beerswag
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%

Looks Smell is green apple, a little roast , mostly fruity esters, interesting profile.the color is more black than brown, yet some brown hues are coming through the glass since the body is looking on the light side. More fruity sour than vinegar sour, is refreshing, sour-green apple, good amount of large bubbles, making for a light and refreshing beer, I like the paradox. The hints of chocolate and barrel remains on the palate and nose. Heavy Soups and Stews, red meat, heavier dishes, low-medium spice/herb dishes.

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Photo of Reedbrew
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Overall a great beer though just had a 2013 in 2015 and felt it was better fresh. With age the tastiness became less sharp and the stout favors flattened. The carbonation seems less too. Much preferred it fresh. Anyone else?

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Photo of HeartofMiami
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

On tap at local WOB. Poured black (was dark at my seat) with minimal head into a snifter glass. Smell was of tart fruit and faint coffee/caramel. Mouthfeel was light with more carbonation than expected. Taste was tart fruit, sour, cherry, fig, maybe some dates. Very faint cocoa/coffee/caramel. Aftertaste is acid/sour but not offensive. Overall, tasty and well done.

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Photo of FutureMan91
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! One of my favorite beers but it has heavy Brett,Lacto and bourbon. Not for someone who doesn't like sours or barrel aged beers(20$-35$ 750ml)they offer a beer, Mélange 1, that is a similar beer but with bigger stout character. I prefer this because its so damn tart its like bourbon but sour. Just so full bodied and original, no style to even describe this masterpiece of a beer.

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Photo of ELS
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at the Coffee District in Delray Beach, FL

L - Nice dark stout color with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Leaves no lacing.

S - Sour fruit with a a hint of cocoa. You really have to smell it multiple times to pick up any stout like characteristics.

T - Starts out slightly sour and surprisingly almost no stout flavor at all. If you tried this beer blindfolded you would likely not realize it was dark in color. I pick up sour fruit which is pleasant and as it warms the sourness really comes through which I feel is the best part of this beer. It has a dry finish which a previous reviewer compared to drinking a merlot. I think that's it exactly.

F- The mouthfeel is thin which I feel is the best way to brew a sour. Works well for this beer.

O - I can't help comparing this beer to JK's Funky Metal which is also a sour stout. Where Funky Metal does a great job of contrasting the roasted stout flavors of coffee and chocolate against the sourness of that beer, ToD does not have such complexity and just doesn't measure up. It's a good sour beer but definitely not the best and somewhat pricey for what you get.

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Photo of Beer4B
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 - poured at The Bruery.

Really, really good. Lots of tart cherry that they somehow blend with the stout nicely. I like this beer fresh but the 3 years of age really do this beer well.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
2.5/5  rDev -39.8%

25.4 oz Bottle.Dark brown poured into a 20 oz Firestone glass.Smells like Berry and Vinegar.Very strong wine taste to it.I wanted to like this so bad because I had heard so many good things about it but to me the flavor was just Nasty.Extreme SOUR taste was so present that I could not get around it to decide what the other flavors were.Made it through about 3/4 through the bottle and then it became DRAIN POUR.And at 19.99 a bottle that hurt.If you like wine this might be better suited for you.But for me I can`t recommend it to a Beer drinker.Needless to say I will not be buying this anytime soon.Sorry Bruery.Thumbs down.

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Photo of macher0
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Pours very dark purple/brown. Slightly translucent. The nose indicates this is quite tart. Notes of berries, neutral oak, and malts. The taste follows the nose. Again quite tart. Not traditional stout flavors, more oak/berries/tart. Very smooth, medium body, and high carbonation.

I was nicely surprised by this ale. I assumed it would be similar to JP Obscrura but I was wrong. This is more a dark fruited sour over a sour stout. It's a bit pricey but a sour folks need to try.

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Photo of don1481
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

750 ml bottle poured into glass.

Appearance: Pours very dark and very fizzy. Head dies down very rapidly.

Smell: WOW sour notes. Lots of fruit smell. Smells refreshing.

Taste: Just like the smell. Pretty good, but not overpowering with the sour. Nice.

Mouthfeel: less fizzy than I would have expected. Very clean and crisp.

Overall: very good, not quite to amazing. But very nice.

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Photo of sanitarium16
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a red wine glass, served at room temperature.

A: Coming out of the bottle, a dark brick red to light black. In the glass the beer was black with some deep red hues. Minimal quater inch head with moderate lacing.

N: Sour cherries, black cherry, some cinnamon spice, chocolate truffle, chocolate covered cherries, black currants

P: Medium-bodied, very tart cherry up front, black currant. No definitive hop character.

F: Slight chocolate on the back end. Smooth, lingering.

O: An awesome, very drinkable sour. No much stout characteristic here, other than the color. Did not detect much oak either. This bottle was 2014 release. Still have a 2013 release; curious to see what an extra year in the bottle will yield.

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Photo of chefbigjon
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I need to taste this next to Oude Tart because I swear it's the same beer, if not extremely similar. I have had this on draft and in a bottle now, I want to love it, but I just don't get any stout whatsoever. Very, very sour. As sours go, I have had better.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Pours a cola color with a fizzy, off-white head that leaves almost no lacing.

Smells of tart fruits and a bit of roasted malts.

Tastes of big tart fruits with some supporting roasted malts. Lemon, sour cherries, sour grapes, and balsamic vinegar lead off. This gives way to a bit of roasted malts with chocolate and coffee. Touches of oak and vanilla come through, but are slight. Finishes with plenty of tangy fruit.

Mouthfeel is medium with a crisp amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a well done, tart wild ale. If you can come to terms with the price ($20.12 for 750 mL), it is certainly worth trying.

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Photo of MDHopster
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Not my usual style. Most interesting beer of the year. Tart is understated, reminiscent of biting into a lemon but not as strong, more like wild cherry tart. Oak aged but subtle. Like Carolina style pork BBQ without the spice. On draft 6 oz glass at White Oak Tavern in Ellicott city, Md. Best sipped

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Photo of d5001986
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

750ml bottle poured into a Spiegelau tulip.
2013 vintage

A: Pours a thin looking black with thin, fast dissipating head. (2)

S: Tart plum, cherry, vanilla, and oak. (4)

T: Quite sour up front. Plum and cherry pits over light chocolate, vanilla, and oak. (4)

M: Medium body. Slick, effervescent, and acidic. (3.5)

O: I enjoyed the extreme sour. Too acidic though.. All in all a tasty brew, but probably not worth the high price tag . (3.75)

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Photo of cpetrone84
1.52/5  rDev -63.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Pour is purplish black with a soapy ring. Nose is heavy sweetness, disoriented malt sugars and berry sweetness with a light leathery brett presence. Taste is awful, strong acetic acid and extreme residual sugar with tons of malt sweetness. Virtually no stout flavors other than too sweet, finish is bretty and bitter with high acid levels and a slick oily feel. Rough drain pour.

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

One year of cellar aging. 2013 bottle

The tart of darkness has great balance and is welcoming, like well worn leather pants.
Tart, tangy with a hint of spunk. The liquid delivers a puckering satisfaction

Mouthfeel is glorious, almost glandular.

Salivating, I let it slide over my palate. Long, strong and effervescent, sublimely coating the back of my throat.

I linger for a moment to fully grasp the largeness. I enjoy balanced sours. This is in the flavor profile of others such as the Flanders Oud Bruin

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Tart Of Darkness from The Bruery
92 out of 100 based on 343 ratings.