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Tart Of Darkness | The Bruery

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Tart Of DarknessTart Of Darkness

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States | website

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

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

Added by ajcobb24 on 06-22-2011

User Reviews
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Reviews: 357 | Ratings: 2,361
Photo of mdolin
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 edition - shared with @rjleveque1 in tulip glasses

L - Little to no head, slight coffee colored lacing. The beer has a very dark color, just as you would expect with a stout.
S - rich cocoa and sour/black cherry and raspberry. Reminds me of a slightly sour Dr. Pepper.
T - Sharp acidity with lingering oak characteristics. Surprisingly refreshing. This is where the stout characteristics go away.
F - Does not sit heavy on the palate as a stout would normally feel. Coats your mouth with the wild yeasty characteristics, but makes you want to go back for more.
O - My first experience with The Bruery. Always heard great things and I would definitely go back for more. There are a lot of great sour beers on the market that don't run $20+ a bottle, but I think this proves to me they are at least worth a shot. Great opportunity to try beers that you don't see in the market. Next up, Or Xata!

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Type: 750ml bottle (25.4 oz.)
Glass: 26th anniversary Karl Strauss pint glass
From: Beer Advocate’s heresy22
Price: N/A
Purchased: N/A; Received May 21, 2015
Consumed: June 27, 2015
Misc.: Bottled on May 1, 2014

Thanks Chris!

Poured a mahogany (even purple?) opaque color with one finger of tan, rocky head,
which thinned out right away. Minimal lacing on the sides of the glass. Below average retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 3.50)

Smelled tart cherry, Sweet Tarts, Smarties, strawberry (wishful?), red apple, cider, faint plum, chocolate late, cocoa powder (I think), black cherry and faint sour milk. (Smell - 4.25)

Tasted sour cherries up front, followed by tart on the tongue late, chewy sour ball candy, strawberry, red apple cider, purple grape, sour plum juice. Then (it really seemed like all of a sudden) I got some sugary chocolate, oak, light toasty malts, cocoa nibs and toffee. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium body. Creamy-to-oily texture. Lively carbonation. Abrupt, astringent finish. (Feel - 3.75)

This was very interesting. I got like 85 percent sour and 15 percent stout. Very sugary and sweet. I don’t know how one could finish a whole bottle, but I’m going to try. (Overall - 4.00)

4.01 | 90 | A-

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Photo of justinp444
4.87/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip has a very quickly dissipating brown head with a dark black body and brown edges. Smell of of apple cider, tart cherries, peaches, vanilla, and oak. Tons of fresh fruit characteristic and a tangy sour that bites your nose. Taste is of sour apple cider, grapes juice, vanilla, and a slight end of oak. Fantastic, takes some time to adjust to the sour as it is powerful, but it is super smooth and juice like with lots of sweetness and just a bit dry. Medium mouth feel with a medium body. 2014 vintage.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark purple mostly black body. Don’t really care for the smell. I’m the only one getting this, but I get a grape cough medicine smell. Luckily, the taste was very good. No medicine. Tart sour roasty flavor. Mild oak flavor. Interesting to be drinking a sour stout.

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Photo of ivegot3Dvision
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a review of the 2011 bottle I had the privilege to try at Society Member Monday. I was expecting a 'meh' beer, but it definitely was much better than I expected. I really wish I could get about 20 cases of this... please?

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a very dark brown with a thin one-finger off-white head. The head dissapates extremely quickly leaving virtually no lacing.

S - Aroma is vinegar and tart cherries.

T - The flavor is tart cherries, vinegar, and white grape. There is some leather, light roasted malts and oakiness midpalate. Finish is even more tart cherries and lemon.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Very dry finish.

O - This is a nice blend of fruity and vinous. I'm not really picking up any of the stout flavors aside from the malts. Mouth puckering good sour.

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Photo of ThreeLions
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml split with hab11 in treehouse tulips.

Look: Good carbonation. Umm. Hmm. What can I say? Poured from the bottle looking like Coca-Cola with less carbonation. Carbonation quickly runs away leaving no head, no lacing whatsoever. 7% abv. This beer looks sort of thin and lifeless. Stillborn beer? Stepped outside and the beer has some redeeming qualities. Much darker than originally appeared. Good oils coating the glass.

Smell: tart chocolate covered sour cherries. Almost green apple or crab apple smells too. Not a big fan of this style of beer but I like the brewery so hopefully it will be good.

Taste: Hmm. Much better than anticipated. Heavy malt vinegar with lots of cherries and chocolate. Very vinegary with a lot of chocolate and cherries. Looking for other flavors but as of yet they have not come through. It is.like drinking a cherry cordial marinated in balsamic vinegar. It is interesting and not terrible. I almost feel like making a salad and pouring this over it but then the chocolate comes back. I really do feel as though I am drinking a sad dressing. Again, not awful nut not my cup of tea.

Mouth: Good oily Resinous medium body.

Overall: as a general thing I simply do not understand this style. If this is your type of thing then I would suggest getting a bottle because for what it is it does a very good job. If you don't care for this style don't expect this beer to change your mind. Overall pretty good, great even just not for me. Also hab11 just reminded me thus was aged in Oak barrels. I got no barrel presence whatsoever. No oak tannins from which this beer could have greatly benefitted. Not for me but maybe for you.

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Photo of Derek
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 Edition. Pours a nice head that subsides to a thin ring of retention, shows some leg. It is tart, nice solid body. Roast is subtle, like dark chocolate covered cherries.

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Photo of bnes09
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown, translucent ale. Thin, off-white head with minimal retention or lacing. Typical for the style.

Tart vinegar, berry, slightly roasted aroma.

Assertive acid flavor but very well balanced with the mild roastiness, and smooth oak. Lots of berry, primarily black currants. As it warms, subtle sweet dark fruits notes begin to emerge. Prunes and blackberries come to mind. Very complex and super well balanced flavor.

Medium bodied. Dry feel. Makes the mouth water. Moderate carbonation.

Hard to tell this beer is a stout. The presence of roasted malt adds some wonderful dark flavors, although not as aggressive a roastiness as most stouts. Simplicity, subtlety and elegance are characteristics this beer brings to the table better than any stout and almost any sour ale I've ever tasted. Truly a boundary breaker and a testament to demonstrate where craft beer can go.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
1.98/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

2013 vintage

The beer that made me realize, I do not like this whole sour beer fiasco.

A - 4.5 - Poured an incredibly dark brown, pretty much to the point of jet black in color. Formed a half finger of quickly dissipating, medium tan colored head. Extremely weak head potential and retention. Nonexistent lacing.
S - 2.75 - Acid. Tons of acidic, tart cherry and white grape. Wine, vinegar, and perhaps an EXTREMELY distant malty aroma.
T - 1 - Good god, I could barely stomach a few sips, let alone drink an entire glass. Extremely acidic grape and vinegar, fades into a somewhat malty finish. The malt combined with the vinegar and tart grape creates the taste of what I can only describe as a combination of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Horrid.
F - 3.5 - Medium body.
O - 1.5 - I guess some people are really into this whole sour beer craze, and I can imagine there's probably a huge following for this type of beer, but for ME, I'd rather spend a fraction of the cost and get myself a bottle of vinegar and a bottle of soy sauce. Has definitely opened my eyes to the fact that I am indeed not a sour drinker.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle poured into a Bruery tulip glass

A: Pitch black, no light coming through, minimal tan colored head retention, no lacing, slight carbonation, a little thin looking.

A: Sour bomb, vinegar, tart, cherries, raspberry, lots of aroma, no alcohol, smells more tart than roasty, not picking up any stout characteristics on the nose.

T: Tartness up front, sour grapes, pear, green apple tartness, a hint of oak at the end, alcohol is well hidden, not getting any stout characteristics on the flavor, all sour and tartness.

M: A little on the watery thin side, balanced carbonation, dry finish.

O: Very good, I was hoping for some stout characteristics to come through but did not get any. All sour, green apples, pears, a well made beer.

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle shared during #bottlecherwednesday at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach. Poured into a tulip. Appearance is dark opaque brown with a finger of tan head that settles to a collar and leaves sporadic, spotty lacing. Aroma is sour cherries, roasted malt, oak, and chocolate. Taste is sour cherries and dark fruit, surrounded by roasted malt and chocolate sweetness, and a drying oak and grape finish. Medium body, slightly creamy texture, average-plus carbonation which is good for the style and weight of this beer, and a puckering, tannic, drying finish.

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Photo of 2dogbrew
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not what I expected. Definitely more of a sour than stout, but it was enjoyable. I expected to pick up some typical roasted character of a stout, but that didn't seem to be present.

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Photo of leroybrown10
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
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 -13.2%
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 +0.7%
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 +8.2%
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 -21.9%
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%
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 -27.9%

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 -1.2%
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 -26.4%
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 +2.4%

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 +2.6%
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 +2.2%

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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Tart Of Darkness from The Bruery
93 out of 100 based on 357 ratings.