Sourdough Wild Ale - Almanac Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Sourdough Wild AleSourdough Wild Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

316 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 316
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.57%
Wants: 13
Gots: 44 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jtrigonis on 01-30-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Brewed with a mash of raw and malted barley, oats, rye, spelt and lemon, this beer was fermented in used wine barrels with a blend of Brettanomyces wild yeasts and Marla Bakery’s San Francisco sourdough yeast. The finished beer is dry-hopped with tropical Mosaic hops. This unfiltered ale is alive in the bottle: drink fresh for a bright, passionfruit aroma or age to develop the wild yeast funk.
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Ratings: 316 | Reviews: 44
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.81/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2013 375 mL bottle into a teku glass.

A- Monstrous pale white head, fluffy and light. Sticky lace is plentiful. Cloudy peach or orange-colored body. 4.25

S- Big passionfruit and peach aromas. Lemony and lightly citric. Somewhat like crackers or otherwise minerally and bready. Pretty splendid smell. 4.5

T- Starts off fruity, still thinking peaches and fainter passionfruit, but then it gets funky pretty quickly and even, yikes, a bit puke-like at the finish. Lemon zest comes on pretty strong and aggressively on the finish, but some sweet maltiness does a good job of offsetting it for the most part. To a certain extent, it reminds me of a Brett IPA minus the hops. That make sense? I think it tastes almost too yeasty at times, unfortunately. 3.5

M- It's got a juicy quality too it and is easily sipped. Very yeasty at the same time and the finish brings a zesty bite that is smoothened by some creamy malt. 3.75

The yeast on this could be toned down quite a bit, but otherwise there are some great flavors in here, particularly the passionfruit and peach. It's a beer with great potential that slightly disappoints.

Photo of Beerswag
3.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Looks medium hazey straw colored beer with little or no head. Big bubbles cling to the bottom of the glass, not very active looking. Smell is apricot, plum, peach and lemon..sour level is medium. Taste is fruity, pluma nd peach, with hints of lemon rind, and sour-apple..expected more peach essence and aromatics..the barrell is not apparent here, sour fruit notes take over. Not a complex beer, simple. Sourdough yeast is coming through now after a few sips, nice bready Mouthfeel is bery light, with signifigant carbonation.. Overall needed more depth of wine from the barrel and flavors. Pair with light cheeses, or thin crust pizza. Shrimp and scallops with a lemon flavor should go well here.

Photo of 01001111
3.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Liquid gold with a wisp of head.

S: Lemon candy and slight pine resin.

T: Bitter hops, bitter lemon peel, sweet malts, brett funk.

M: Crisp but with a touch of syrup. The bitterness is drying.

O: Most Almanac beers are excellent, this one is just good. A bit like a funky, Belgian Strong Pale Ale. I wonder if this is just one that refused to sour.

Photo of Alieniloquium
2.68/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy orange body. Small white head. Medium collar.

Smell - Earthy tones. Some grain. The acidity doesn't seem to brighten it much. Lightly funky.

Taste - Grain. It has a bitter and tannic flavor before the sourness takes over. Tough to pinpoint, but it isn't very good. Earthy sourness, if that makes sense.

Mouthfeel - Medium sourness. Medium carbonation.

Overall - The finish is very strange. A lot of it is strange. Just doesn't work very well.

Photo of flayedandskinned
3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled 2013
Poured into a Duvel glass

Appearance: (4)
Pours a a hazy straw gold with a thick, creamy 2 fingers tall pure white head. The head retains a good while, leaving behind a healthy coating of sticky lacing behind as a it gradually descends.

Aroma: (4)
Wow, as soon as you raise the glass to your nose, you're absolutely blasted by fruity Mosaic hops; big, tropical notes of passion fruit, peach, green pear and grape fruit. Beneath these very aromatic Mosaic hops are notes of lemon rind as well as a unique, bread like yeastiness, that I can only assume is from the the addition of San Francisco sourdough yeast. Despite being fermented with Brettanomyces, there is a surprisingly low amount of barnyard funkiness and mustiness. As the beer warms, some cracker-like malt and a vinous barrel character becomes more and more apparent. Very unique smelling wild ale.

Taste: (3.75)
Much like in the aroma, your palate is greeted by a quick blast of tropical hops; notes of passion fruit, peach and grapefruit. Layered nicely underneath this initial burst of hop notes are some familiar, but young tones of Brettanomyces; wet hay, musty earth and light horse blankets. Before the bitter and dry finish, your palate is kissed by some spicy rye notes paired with bitter lemon peel. Long, lingering notes of dried lemon flesh, bitter grapefruit peel, light horse blankets and some subtle, under laying vanilla tones from the barrel.

Mouthfeel: (4.25)
Full and creamy bodied with firm, assertive carbonation. The addition of rye and rolled oats really give this beer a nice texture.

Overall: (4)
Almanac is really doing some interesting beers lately; Whether it is their bourbon barrel aged sour porter, or their Strawberry and Nectarine sour, they have really been exercising their creativity. I look at this beer as a 21st century, West Coast answer to the classic Orval; Instead of it being dry hopped with Styrian Goldings, it is dry hopped with the very in vogue Mosaic hops. If that wasn't enough, it is fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces and San Francisco Sourdough yeast and aged in wine barrels. This is a very unique beer that I am very much looking forward to aging and further developing in the bottle.

Photo of mc4z
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, bottled Feb 2013, batch #1. Pours a pale yellow-orange color with a small head. The smell is strongly of wine and I struggle to get much lemon or citrus out of it. The taste is similar with strong notes of white wine and a hint of lemon. Compared to Farmer's Reserve #4, you can barely taste the lemon. The Mosaic hops are a nice addition that add a bit more flavor to the beer. At this age, it is barely sour. Maybe some time would let some of the funk develop. It is lightly carbonated and drinks more like a wine than a beer to me. This is the weakest of their fruit-based sours that I've had, which is disappointing considering the price tag. Here's hoping this is a one-time deal.

Photo of Mongrel
4.07/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really don't understand the mediocre reviews for this beer. This one was bottled in February '13 and is really coming into its own right now. Still super juicy, with plenty of Brett tang, but not too funky.

A - pours a bright golden orange that's only slightly hazy. Big, creamy white head that hangs around for quite a while a leaves nice lacing.

S - smell is kinda generic and musty, with just a hint of lemongrass and pink fruit.

T - Zesty lemon and berries right up front. Stays juicy as the beer develops, with orange, papaya, pineapple and green grass coming through. Some barnyard funk mid-palate and a tart, tangy finish. Sourdough notes linger in the aftertaste. All of this with well-balanced dryness. Very nice.

M - Mouthfeel is soft and fuzzy. Just about perfect carbonation and body. Finishes dry, as it should.

Photo of nataku00
3.49/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a hazy copper color with a few yeast floaties due to a slightly vigorous pour with half a finger of loose off white head. Head dissipates after a few minutes leaving some light lacing.

Nose is tropical fruits, pineapple, mango, passion fruit and sweet lemon with a caramel malt sweetness added on. Not much wild or sour in the aroma though.

Taking a sip, bready malt with a herbal hop bitterness dominate the palate. No tropical fruit flavors from the aroma in the taste. Lingering herbal and lightly citrus peel flavors on the finish.

Light body and refreshingly carbonated. An interesting slightly wild pale ale like beer, but not too amazing.

Photo of smakawhat
4.5/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

Deep bronze and apricot orange body color, great tangerine highlights on the edges. There's lots of thin rising carbonation in lines all around the glass. A nice roaring column of carbonation in the middle to go with it. Head is creamy white, builds on a controlled pour easily, with nice even bubbles that get repopulated. Clumpy and whip cream lacing on top. Great looking.

Great smelling nose. Lemons, apricot and peach like fruits, very soft, not overly sour, quite a nice perfume and floral like character as well, with a touch of bready sweetness. Lovely.

Palate really impresses. Great mid palate sweetness of lavender and lilac, and then a giant burst of hot funk and brett. Huge bread aromas and hot and peppered finish but not out of control. Big funk notes, black pepper, almost hop hot bitterness. Sharp zest and oils all over. Lots of big flavors but all take their turn.

It's a huge brett forward tasting beer, with a nose that doesn't give you that hint is coming. It's very impressive, and works nicely. Not for everyone but really dig this one, quite unique too.

Photo of rlee1390
4.07/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Clear yellow, not much carbonation. One finger head that doesn't last long.

S-Bread, lemon, good deal of citrus hops, very slight funk, tad bit of grapes.

T-Starts with lots of bread, yeast and lemon. Very slight sour note. The finish has a lot of citrus and even some bitterness. It has an interested balance between being a sour and an IPA or APA.

M-Medium to lighter in body, nice carbonation.

O-An interesting beer to say the least. I can see how people could have been mislead by the sour part. But mosaic hops are amazing.

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Batch 1, bottled Feb. 2013.

A: Pours a hazy straw yellow with an inch-thick white head which fades to a thin cap leaving semi-rings and splotches of lace.

N: Passionfruit, mango, lemony, yeasty, citrus, juicy, floral with a faint herbal/oniony note.

T: Yeasty with off-lemon flavors, odd mild old funk like dirty shoes. Clash between the lemon, yeast and oak is dissappointing. On warming the jumble becomes less chaotic.

M: Moderate body and medium carbonation. Finishes slightly harsh lemon/yeast with a weird aftertaste.

O: I can imagine what this was trying to be, but it just doesn't work for me. Best to pass if given the chance.

Photo of jdhowe
3.75/5  rDev +9%

Reviewed from notes, draft taster (4oz)

A: Slightly hazy, vibrant golden with 1 finger of foamy, off-white head. Tons of lacing left down the glass. (4.0)

S: hoppy bitterness, juicy citrus and malt sweetness, sourdough yeast, and a very light hint of tartness. Smells more like an east-coast IPA than an AWA, but is pleasant if not entering with any expectations (4.25)

T/M: Sweet, malty, and bitter with a strong yeasty/bitter aftertaste. Juicy and smooth, but very lightly drying. Low carbonation, medium body, like a flat IPA. A slight sour hint on the edges help add a bit of complexity to the sweetness. (3.75/3.5)

O: Not at all what I had expected. Not sour, but not really bad. (3.75)

Photo of ThePaleRider
3.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Toronado.

A - Very cloudy. Reminded me of a cloud of hay. Lots of dark yellows and a small head.

S - Lots of lemon, citrus, and strong malts. Not picking up any sourness.

T - Wow, the name isn't kidding. Very bready. Lots of yeast and almost a flour taste. The warmer the beer became, the more the passion fruit and lemon really started to shine.

O - Very odd ale, but very enjoyable.

Photo of brianmandell
3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bottled Feb 2013; Pours a clear pale gold with no head and some fine lacing.

The aroma is big on apple juice, grape, lemon and tropical fruit notes.

This is a very unusual tasting beer. There is clean, bready malt, apple, grape and tropical fruit notes, an apparent hoppiness, and an overriding citrus bitterness like chewing on a lemon peel. The acidity is mild and overshadowed by the bitterness.

The mouthfeel is clean with creamy carbonation.

Taken in parts there is some interesting stuff here. As a whole, it doesn't come together. As a result it ends up being a mediocre, unbalanced beer. I think some tweaking of the recipe - primarily reducing the lemon peel bitterness - could result in a better beer.

Photo of Ferrari805
3.41/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

big fan of almanac

A- nice golden-yellow hazy beer with small half finger white head lower carb on this one.

S- getting a bunch of hops? its not lemon bitterness..there is not much lemon at all but a slight sweet lemon thats very mild. nothing that would make me think sour.

T- hmmm... drinks like a IPA.. getting alot of hop bitterness with a little lemony after taste. not sour at all, seriously if someone said it was a IPA I would believe them.

m- nice medium mouth feel lower carb for what I was expecting not any barrel or wine character at all.. dang

O-almanac has some really good sours, but this is not one of them. felt like I was drinking a pretty decent IPA.. bitter, not sour, and not their best...maybe some age will do something to improve this?

Photo of Wisconsin
4.13/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I don't review often, but thought this beer was so underrated I needed to add my input. Thanks to DOTU for sending the bottle. Bottled Feb. 2013.

A - An easy pour into a Belgian-style stemmed glass releases a nice finger head that slowly fades to an even lace. Minutes after the lace is still sticking around. The body is a pale golden color with lots bubbles rising to the top. Very nice looking.

S - Tart and acidic, which I assume are a combination of the Brett and lemon coming together, and maybe a bit from the wine barrel. A deeper whiff brings light bread and tropical notes.

T - Plenty of funk and tartness up front. Light bread notes a sweet zest from the lemon and Mosaic hops. A slight bitterness from the Brett as this beer exits.

M - Light in the mouth with an ample amount of carbonation to carry the variety of flavors through. Body is quite light and provides a great stage for the Brett, lemon and Mosaic hops to shine through. Very drinkable.

O - A top notch beer that is severely underrated.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 3.1.14

A - Pours a hazy, bright medium orange with a solid foamy off-white head with good retention.

S - Yeasty, bready, doughy.

T - Yeasty, malty, light and subtle.

D - Good carbonation with a light body.

O - Not bad by any means, just mild and kind of boring.

Photo of DefenCorps
3.89/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle, batch 1, Feb 2013. Thanks, Chris.

A moderately hazy orange with a huge, dense, white head with excellent retention and fantastic lacing, this looks great! The nose is bright, with the blend of lemons, lemony and tropical Mosaic hops, a raw, doughy, rustic and grainy malt character and finally, a white wine fruitiness. The wine barrel adds notes of white grapes, honey and flowers. Excellent. There isn't a ton of funk here, which is surprising. It smells a lot like a citron.

The palate opens up with a rather big blend of lemons, a moderate amount of dough - rustic, grainy, a mild sourdough note - along with some husky tannins. Moderately sweet as well, with honey and wort. The citrus appears on the mid palate with a clean and refreshing brightness along with some melons, tropical fruit by way of papaya and mango and tangerines. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, this beer is a little sweeter than I'd like but still excellent. Highly recommended.

Photo of notchucknorris
3.79/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a brilliant hazed golden color with a half finger off white head. Some light lace down the glass.

S: It gets pretty interesting here. Lots of tropical fruit notes blanketed by a deep musty note. Passionfruit, guava, pineapple and a sort of powdery Belgian yeast note mix with dusty wood, hay and some funk.

T: Unfortunately, the taste never really comes close to the smell. Lots of Belgian yeast, a dry graininess with just a hint of tropical fruit to it. Finish has some hay and drying Brett notes. I never really got any lemon out of this at all and the earthiness kind of ot to me after a while. Not bad, but definitely falls short of what I was hoping for.

Photo of scottfrie
3.32/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

375ml bottle poured into tulip. Bottled February 2013.

A: Pours a slightly hazy light yellow/orange with a large, airy, and fluffy couple fingers of fuzzy off-white head that slowly faded into a soft collar. Sticky sheets of lace were left down the glass.
S: Tons of crisp mineral notes mixed with freshly cut sourdough bread and doughy yeast. Slight peppery herbal spice, presumably from the hops, pokes through as well. Definitely yeast forward.
T: Muddled doughy bready flavors followed by an interesting bready sourness. This really does taste like liquid sourdough with just a hint of spicy hops. Flavors are creamy and a bit muddled.
M: Creamy and fluffy carbonation, medium-full body, soft and heavy mouthfeel. There is no bright tartness or acidity (not saying it should).
O: Two years may have been too long for this one, but having never had it fresh I'll never know. Flavors are good and definitely unique, but this isn't necessary something I'd like to drink again.

Photo of stakem
3.49/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

375ml into a snifter. The brew appears a clear pale yellow color with a thick white head that fades slowly leaving a a full wall of lace. The smell includes notes of lemon, somewhat rindy and zesty but finishes with almost soapy qualities. The taste is very bitter and oily almost soapy with some sweet wheat or candy notes underneath but seems unbalanced and too bitter. This is light bodied with big effervescent carbonation. This brew has some high points to it but the bitterness really clashes with the tartness.

Photo of macrosmatic
4.07/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to eyebereej for sending this one! Reviewed from notes. Poured from 375 mL bottle into a Peg's snifter glass.

A: Pours a nice gold, mildly hazy, with a thin white. There's a good amount of visible carbonation as the head fades to foam.

S: Tart, lemons and wine, with light Brett presence and oak. A fairly light and delicate aroma overall.

T: Big funk and tart lactic up front. Horse blanket melds with tropical fruit bitterness from the hops, white wine-chardonnay, oak dryness and yeastiness. The sourdough yeast definitely adds something in the way of acidic tartness. Funk and the tartness in the hang.

M: Light bubbly body, and very low alcohol presence.

O: A very different sour to be sure. I get that this may not be for everyone, but I found it to be fairly enjoyable, though not the best Almanac offering to be sure.

Photo of cpetrone84
2.3/5  rDev -33.1%

Pour is a transparent golden amber with a decent bit of bubbly white head. Nose is adjunct grain, stale dough, pale malts, musky citrus hops. Taste is sweeter, still some adjunct grain, less doughiness to it, pale malts, citrus and sugar in back. Low carb, syrupy body.

Photo of brentk56
4.31/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a hazy goldenstraw with a nice head that leaves strands of lacing behind

Smell: Vinous, with tropical fruit notes and leathery tones

Taste: Opens with a bready character that is quickly joined by a vinous white wine aspect; tropical fruit notes build and a leathery Brett character adds complexity; after the swallow, the hops kick in to add a hint of bitterness; lemon and wine barrel tones round out the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: A name like Sourdough Wild creates expectations that the brewer never intended for this beer; get beyond that and you will find a beer that is refreshing, has significant complexity and the potential to build in sourness over time

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle I brought to share at Retsinis' tasting.

Batch No. 1. Bottled February 2013.

Pours a hazy gold with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is slightly sour with malt, grain, fruit, and white wine aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, tropical fruit, citrus zest, and Brett flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that comes across more as a hoppy beer than a wild ale, especially in the taste.

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Sourdough Wild Ale from Almanac Beer Co.
79 out of 100 based on 316 ratings.