Drie Fonteinen Intense Red Oude Kriek - Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen
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Ratings: 403 | Reviews: 70 | Display Reviews Only:
4.18/5 rDev +0.5%
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.
05-08-2014 03:52:58 | More by Pahn
Drie Fonteinen Intense Red Oude Kriek from Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen
93 out of 100 based on 403 ratings.