Cascade The Vine - Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
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Ratings: 688 | Reviews: 186 | Display Reviews Only:
3.58/5 rDev -15.4%
2013 project. 9.30% ABV. 750ml brown glass bottle with hood-and-wire (unbranded, gold) cap over a cork purchased directly from Cascade and served into a Lost Abbey teku in high altitude Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery.
Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.
No bubble show forms as it's poured.
This is a mess to pour - the cork was impossible to remove by hand, so I tried pliers - which broke the cork in half. A churchkey removed the cork, but beer quickly surged out, spilling over my bar. Definitely seems overcarbonted especially when you consider it's been aging over a year at cellar temp.
HEAD: Pours a two finger wide off-white colour head - fizzy and violent as hell - which reduces inside 1 minute, though for about half of that it's only fizzing on one side....odd.
After completely disappearing, the head rekindles itself, fizzing back into life for 2 minutes more (still on only one side of the glass) before dying again - completely of its own volition. I've never seen anything like this.
No lacing sticks to the sides of the teku.
BODY: Body is a vibrant lively brilliant gold with blond and copper hues. The carbonation bubbles are magnificent in this colour of body. You could photograph this beer for a magazine cover; it looks incredible. I can't wait to try it.
That said, it does seem direly overcarbonated. But it's a unique appearance - both in terms of head and (admittedly less so) the body. It's definitely alive, but no yeast particulate is visible.
AROMA: Lovely. Gorgeous blond malts, impeccable white oak tones, white grapes with an ideal sweetness/dryness balance, golden malts, Belgian pale malts, clean crisp full evocative barley, a kiss of juicy fruity hop notes, and marvelous wild yeasts as well as bacterial notes - lactobacillus sure (albeit seemingly not as much as in Cascade Kriek), and ample sourness - about a 6-7/10. There are also some barrel sugars and grape skin notes. I also find a note redolent of pinesol, which works surprisingly well here.
This amazing aroma reminds me of the best Belgian blond sours I've encountered. Really incredible stuff; I'm dying for the first sip. It's mild in strength, but boy is it evocative. The dryness/sweetness balance seems ideal.
TASTE: Blond malts, golden malts, and Belgian pale malts comprise the easily influenced neutral foundation. White grapeskin enters in the early second act, bolstered by the building presence of lacto-induced sourness as the second act progresses. Wild yeasts and bacterial notes complement the lactobacillus well, evoking a truly alive, wild brew.
The moderate tartness of the grape coupled with the intrinsic grape flavours doesn't really fit into this flavour profile as well as I anticipated given the aromatics, but it doesn't feel out of place per se - perhaps just a bit too intense. In a beer so subtle, those notes are noticeably dominant, and while they don't break the cohesion of the beer, they do distract from the gestalt build as a whole.
Disappointingly, the sourness is a relatively mild 5-6/10 in terms of intensity. Cascade's other more sour beers (e.g. Cascade Kriek) offer more depth of flavour, but this beer has good flavour amplitude and duration.
The guiding oak tone throughout the beer is lovely, and bolsters its already impressive cohesion. The neutral barrel sugars found in the aroma are largely absent here, though I do think the beer's balance errs a bit too far on the sweet side. Dryer grapes might fix this minor issue.
What shocks is the absence of alcohol presence, which is damn impressive at 9.30%; how does Cascade produce these high-alcohol sours without seriously compromising balance?
Overall, it's a very likeable flavour profile with some excellent elements, but doesn't quite come together the way a world-class beer would.
TEXTURE: Crisp, overcarbonated, and smooth, with a perfect balance of dryness/wetness. Medium-bodied. Towards the back end, it's fairly smacky on the palate, but I'd love more of that along with more sourness. Thickness is apt for the flavour profile. Fairly acidic.
Good overall presence on the palate. This texture supports the flavour profile well and feels naturally complementary, but it's not a perfect marriage of texture to taste; it could be improved.
OVERALL: As it warms, I do pick up some neutral barrel sugars and some lambic-esque cereals/grains right on the finish, which aren't particularly welcome. This is a very drinkable enjoyable sour from Cascade, and the discerning drinker will be impressed by how well it hides its ABV. That said, Cascade brews world-class beers, but this isn't one of them. A good-but-not-great sour that isn't worth its high pricetag outside of its state of origin, The Vine is a beer I doubt I'll return to but that might be incredible with serious age on it. More solid work from one of the USA's best sour producers.
08-20-2014 03:33:34 | More by kojevergas
Cascade The Vine from Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub
94 out of 100 based on 688 ratings.