1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Summer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry - Almanac Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Summer 2010 Vintage - BlackberrySummer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

76 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 76
Reviews: 48
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 16.23%
Wants: 22
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Our golden ale reflects a dueling love of classic Belgian ales and American hops. We balance two row barley, pilsner malt and wheat with a touch of Magnum bittering hops added at the beginning of the boil, and a California-sized addition of Citra hops added at the end of the boil. This late hop addition adds a delicate grapefruit-peel aroma. We then age the beer in used oak wine barrels from California wineries with two hundred pounds of fresh Cherokee Blackberries, and another fifty pounds of Marion, Ollalie and Boysen Berries. All of our berries were hand picked at the family owned and operated Sebastopol Berry Farm.

After six months of barrel aging with the fruit, we blended the barrels back together with freshly brewed "base-beer" to reinvigorate the citrusy, hoppy aroma. Blended beer is re-fermented in the bottle to provide a final layer of complexity. Bottle conditioning provides a natural carbonation of superfine bubbles, similar to classic sparkling wines. The finished bottle is alive, and will continue to evolve and change over time, gaining nuance and character for years.

(Beer added by: nataku00 on 02-20-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 76 | Reviews: 48 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Arbitrator
1.75/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. $20 a bottle.

A: Pours a hazy goldenrod body with fluffy off-white head. Decent retention with some lace.

S: Powerful nose of tannins, light spice, and an afterthought of blackberries. I find myself looking for some expression of the Belgian yeast or whatever went into this beer and find it lacking. $20 a bottle.

T: Remarkably tannic for something that doesn't use the word "tannic" or "oak" or "hey we aged this in barrels" in the title. This is marketed as a blackberry ale first and foremost, and the berries are totally miss-... oh, there they are. They're just weak. And they remain weak and overpowered for the duration of the bottle. Plus the beer is surprisingly sweet, like some kind of sugarcane oak juice. At least the taste presents shotgun spatter of phenols to, uh, redeem nothing. $20 a bottle.

M: Syrupy. $20 a bottle.

O: Considering the $20 pricetag, I expected a LOT more, and the numerous fake reviews inflating the score aren't appeasing my irritation. This is a poster child for the price-inflating, crap-delivering bullshit that craft beer is becoming. Skip it.

Arbitrator, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of Ryan011235
1.99/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter on 6/1/12

Bottled 5/29/11
Bottle No. 3065

Thanks to Nickd717

A) Clear, golden amber. Thin layer of foam with some ring retention.

S) Plastic, fake blackberry aroma, grains, and a soft oak note. Mustiness is on the low side. Light fruit tones.

T) It doesn't taste nearly as good as it smells. Dank oak turns to stale, wet swamp grass and grump, sleepy fruit suggestions. Blueberries are all but gone.

M) Light body with moderate, prickly carbonation. The finish is vinous and a tad earthy and funky.

Ryan011235, Sep 26, 2013
Photo of largadeer
2.3/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks for sharing this one, Mark.

Cloudy blond body topped by a tall, lasting head that leaves plenty of lacing behind.

Very vinous aroma with a somewhat ambiguous berry undercurrent. The barrel presence is huge, a bit excessive. There's a Belgian ale yeast character beneath the barrel and fruit, lending a slight wild funk and spicy phenols.

A muddled fruit flavor hits the palate first, followed by a shit-ton of oak. Tannic, bitter, astringent, surprisingly a bit boozy too. The fruit has an indistinct, kitchen sink quality to it. Pretty rough mouthfeel, somewhat chalky. Fruitiness lingers throughout. Yeast contributes some phenols and a hint of stonefruit. The astringency really seems to linger and grow on the palate the more you sip on it. I didn't mind the beer at first, but it became difficult to drink after a few ounces.

largadeer, Jul 11, 2011
Photo of siege06nd
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

siege06nd, Jul 12, 2014
Photo of billab914
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

billab914, Jul 12, 2014
Photo of beddachedda
2.55/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bought this at City Beer to try a new American release before I zip off to Belgium today. First review, I felt that after dropping $18 on a bottle of beer that had all A/A+ ratings I should review it to give a counter-point.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Brooklyn tulip-style pint glass, July 1, 2011. Bottle No. 2437, bottled 5/29/2011.

A - Pours a clear straw color with an inch of white head. Looks good for a Belgian Pale.

S - Heavy berries (black I can only assume) and a little bit of that funk ever so present in BPAs. No slouching on the heavy berries though.

T - This is where I was disappointed. Fruit sweetness and very crisp on the front end, but it transforms to harsh charcoal / sulfur / metallic bite on the finish. Not the kind you get from an overly hoppy beer, but the kind you get from sucking on a penny. This really hurt the drinkability of the beer and I drain poured half the bottle after realizing that I had lots of other things to choose from that I'd rather have.

M - Light, refreshing mouthfeel, if not for the finish of the beer this would be a very pleasant, light drinker.

O - Disappointed. High hopes for this beer that were dashed. At $18 a bottle, and with such stunning reviews so far, I was expecting more. Nice to try, and hopefully it was just a bad bottle, but I will not be revisiting this.

beddachedda, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Rhettroactive, Jul 12, 2014
Photo of womencantsail
3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer pours a hazy golden color with a huge white head. Sort of strange appearance for a beer with blackberries...

S: The nose is intensely grassy with a lot of oak and not all that much blackberry. More than berries, it smells like wine and red grapes. It's quite jammy and very, very sweet.

T: As with the aroma, the flavor is very sweet. There is actually a decent flavor of berries to it, but it's like blackberry jam with wine and oak chips in it. Heavy on the sugar and just cloying overall.

M: Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation.

O: This was not something I'd care to have again. Just really all over the map and unenjoyable.

womencantsail, Aug 18, 2011
Photo of whartontallboy
3/5  rDev -21.5%

whartontallboy, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of eatabag
3/5  rDev -21.5%

eatabag, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of mjl21
3.15/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip. Bottle #2107. Bottled on 5/29/11.

A-Pours a hazy orange that looks pretty nice when held up to the light. The first pour yields a nice two finger head that has some good staying power. Plenty of bubbles can be seen rising to the top.

S-Belgian yeast dominates the nose at the start and is very indicative of a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. There are faint hints of berries and red wine. The two aromas remain subtle throughout and are not as pronounced as I expected from a barrel aged beer that is loaded with four types of berries. As it warms it picks up a lot of apple aroma. I found on the second pour I got more berry character in the nose, but it still was not as strong as I expected.

T-Like the nose, it starts out with a ton of yeast flavor. After the yeast taste passes, I get fruit/jam flavors, but I would be hard pressed to say it was blackberries had I not read the bottle description. After the fruit/jam flavor, there is definite red wine character that I found was too strong. The barrels used impart some vanilla flavor. Towards the end there is a decent amount of bitterness. It finishes with some spice and a flavor reminiscent of a Sweet Tart. In between sips I got an unusual metallic aftertaste that I found to be distracting and after a few sips really began to wear on my palate. I did find on the second pour it was not as harsh on my palate, perhaps due to an onset of palate fatigue.

M-It is a little light in the body. As mentioned above, after the first 8 ounces the beer was severely drying out my mouth. The carbonation level started out fairly well but dissolved at a quick pace after the first 10 ounces.

D-I found overall the components just didn't mesh that well and if I'm paying $21 for a bottle I expect a little more from a beer. Would be curious to try the sour version of this beer.

mjl21, Jul 16, 2011
Photo of popery
3.19/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From notes 7/28/11. Draft at Shotwell's Almanac release event. I think I’ll like this beer after some time in the bottle/keg, but it’s a bit muddled for me, now. Some berries in the nose but not enough. The fruit presence is underwhelming and lacks the juicy, jammy quality of better fruit beers. There’s also a light caramel flavor that's probably the strongest single non-barrel note. Some pleasant citric bitterness cuts through the finish but doesn't quite reign in the sweetness. Oddly, it’s also a bit over-tannic for my taste. I’m getting a lot more straight oak than wine from the barrel. There's a musty funkiness, which could develop into complexity but it's not really working here and comes off more chalky than anything. The yeast, hops, fruit and barrel kinda clash, and the beer seems more like a directionless, kitchen-sink offering. Appearance is a dusky orange color with a big white head. Feel is light on carbonation but I'm distracted by the tannic oakiness. As for the style, it's not a great BSPA but I don't think it's trying to be - either way, hard to rate against the style, except for in a vague personal enjoyment scale. I’ll be interested to see how it develops and will revisit this review when I crack open a bottle.

popery, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of aasher
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was courtesy of BrewerB, thanks Brian! Kudos for hitting another want of mine and helping me knock off a new brewery. I had seen this in the first FT post about it so I looked it up. I was intrigued enough to throw it on my Wants and here we are.

It pours a nice and somewhat cloudy honey gold in color with a one finger frothy white head. It smells of Belgian yeasts, a good amount of spice, light honey, and some ever so slight blackberry syrup. I didn't get any blackberry initially and had to return to it to go on a search. At least you do get some. The flavors are full of spicy Belgian yeasts and alcohol. The alcohol is pretty overbearing. The blackberry is barely present at all. It's so faint that I can't detect if it's artificial or authentic. You have to think about it. For a beer that has blackberry in the name I had hoped it would be detectable. The longer it warms to room temp you do get more blackberry however, but should you ever have wait? It eventually even creeps into the aftertaste. It drinks like the style tends to. Overall this is a beer that fell short of expectations but was slightly intriguing. If this is $20 I would not have purchased it. It doesn't provide anything special or out of the ordinary. Wine barrel, blackberry? Please intensify.

aasher, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chris aka spycow for sharing this one.

A - Yellow colored beer, poured with a small, white head that had decent retention and faded to a partial ring.

S - This smells pretty good to begin with. There is some nice tartness and blackberries. The wine barrels give it some added complexity that make for a pretty pleasant aroma.

T - It starts out sweet with a small about of blackberry taste and a little bit of wine. Unfortunately it ends rather harshly, with considerably too much phenolic ethers on the finish, making it not very enjoyable to drink.

M - Syrupy, medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

O - Not great. Smell was pretty promising, but the taste just went south and didn't deliver. They should make another beer.

AgentZero, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

zestar, Jul 01, 2014
Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

JAHMUR, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

imperialking, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ordered this bottle from Blackwell's. Served in a Mikasa tulip.

Pours a light orange color with a single-finger white head and a bit of lacing as it goes down. The nose brings some light Belgian yeast and a bit of earthy spice plus mild oak and wine. Faint berry presence in the background. Flavor is Belgian yeast and mild fruit. Some spice there as well as light tannins and a mild blackberry character. Not sure everything blends together all that well, and the fruit doesn't really add all that much; it's basically just a tease. Light body and good carbonation. No alcohol. Pretty decent, but not worth the $20 price tag.

Thorpe429, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

interesting beer. i have had a couple of these sent to me recently.

Light amber in color and very cloudy. Nice little touch of white on the top as well that reached a heightof around an inch before settling back down.

Light grain aroma with hints of berries and light fruits was welcoming, albeit a touch light for me and came off not like i honestly thought it would. Smooth, mellow, and a bit bland on the taste. Lots of dark berries in the taste tried to cover up a lack of depth and an otherwise slightly bland overall vibe. Still decent feel and a very smooth, easy drinkability.

overall this was not bad at all, i think i was simply hoping for alot more

mikesgroove, Aug 21, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jason for sharing this one. Served in a Hill Farmstead glass. Didn't jot down the bottle number.

a - A few fingers of white foam settle to a thick cap, leaving a some swatches of lace. Hazed golden body with some visible carbonation.

S - Spicy Belgian yeast - some what farmhouse-esque. Oak, light white wine, bready malts, some nebulous fruit character. I don't find anything screams blackberry here, and I eat blackberries all the time.

T - Taste is a little less exciting. There's some spicy Belgian yeast, light stone fruits, buttery chardonnay oak, and a slightly unexpected astringent finish. Again, not much blackberry.

M - Medium-light body, pleasant carbonation, fairly dry and tannic. Alcohol is perceptible but on par for the listed 8%.

D - Not much blackberry, but otherwise a decent wine-barrel aged Belgian golden. Perhaps a bit over-oaked though. Not something I'd want to drink in large quantities. I noticed later pours were more purple-hued - perhaps the blackberries are separating out?

MasterSki, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

GRG1313, Mar 02, 2013
Photo of pperez38
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

pperez38, May 02, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

SocalKicks, May 26, 2014
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

spycow, Jan 17, 2013
Photo of yourefragile
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

yourefragile, May 18, 2014
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Summer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry from Almanac Beer Co.
86 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.