Drie Fonteinen Intense Red Oude Kriek - Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen
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Ratings: 391 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
4.18/5 rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
375ml poured into--for no particular reason--a snifter.
As all good frequenters of the Union Square farmer's market know, we're just about coming up to sour cherry season. Seems a good time to finally try 3F Intense Red.
Appearance: Dark red-black color, with a purplish pink head. Looks nice enough.
Smell: Sort of like cherry cough syrup with hints of almond. Suggestion of acetic aroma but way in the background. Weird how something in the brewing/blending/whatever process seems to have brought out some nutmeg and almond aromas. No idea where those came from, but they're interesting and good. Brett comes out with time.
All told it's a pretty good aroma, but nothing amazing. Could stand to smell the sour cherry. The points I give it go up as the beer warms. Some trademark elegant 3F funk and complexity emerge to save the day.
Taste: Big hit of straight up sour cherry. Not as sour as I expected, which is fine by me. Nice lactic transition to the puckering finish, which has more of a blackberry and dark fruit character to it with occasional sour cherry notes.
As implied by the name, this beer makes sour cherry the star. It pervades the flavor up front, with highlights of funky, leathery brettanomyces, and some intriguing but not extreme flavors from the bacteria bobbing in and out. The puckering finish is not unlike eating sour cherries outright. This is *very* fine by me.
I can see really serious lambic enthusiasts being put off by this beer. Some of those superb depths attainable only by 3F seem to be masked by all the fruit. At the same time, I can see some sour cherry enthusiasts who also happen to enjoy lambic (read: me) loving this beer.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Tart and puckering, but not blow your mouth off sour like the harshest Russian River or aged Cantillon. Good vessel.
Overall: I have pretty simple requirements for a beer like this: don't let the sour cherry get lost, and give me some interesting wild ale notes (preferably with noticeable lactic sourness, and if you can throw in discernible oak influence, that's also a plus).
Intense Red hits all those notes quite nicely. Sour cherry isn't just "not lost," it's dominating the flavor, almost as if you spiked some 100% sour cherry juice with lambic at a ratio of 4 to 1. However, it has a grace and cohesion that you don't get from sour cherry juice (usually too abrasive and one note if you ask me). Also, those beautiful brett and bacteria grocery-list flavors that 3F is so good at coaxing out are just as good in a support role as they are as soloists (like that mixed metaphor?). I spared the reader most of the nitty gritty "here are all the crazy things I taste in here," run down, but the depth is there (ie it admits of grocery list reviewing), and it's good.
In short, this beer was just what I wanted it to be. Showcases the fruit, delivers some reminders that Armand is a genius. No complaints.
Serving type: bottle
05-08-2014 03:52:58 | More by Pahn
4.26/5 rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Excited to finally pop the cork on this expensive little bottle. Cheers!
A: Magnificent magenta body, so dark that it looks shining black until you hold it up and a warm ruby light shines through. Pink bubbles appear with a quick twist of the glass, but once it gets settled again there’s nothing left. Looks quite still.
S: Wild, funky brett topped with cherry cobbler – ripe black cherry, green olive, barnyard, new leather, stewed blueberries, graham cracker. The funk, strong yet inviting, is nothing short of intoxicating.
T: This is, without a doubt, the sourest beer I have ever had. Good lord. Tastes, for the most part, like sour cherry candy with notes of tart green apple and raspberry. Between the puckering there are faint glimpses of oak barrel, baguette crust, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, flint…in fact, it ends on a fairly metallic note, much the same as a tinny sauvignon blanc would.
M: Feels just as still as it looks, making for a watery, juice-like texture. The sourness is sticky enough to leave a lasting sensation on the back of the tongue, though, and the thinness of the body seems to add to this beer’s natural, wild character.
O: Sour to the extreme: don’t drink unless you’re alright with having the enamel stripped off your teeth. But damn is it good (if not addictive). Cheers.
Serving type: bottle
04-06-2014 21:25:19 | More by BarryMFBurton
Drie Fonteinen Intense Red Oude Kriek from Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen
93 out of 100 based on 391 ratings.