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

77 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 77
Reviews: 48
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 15.97%
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)
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Ratings: 77 | Reviews: 48 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting and complex creation.Dark coloured body. Yeasty initially, and then bold berry fruity flavour, finishing with abundant merlot tannin flavour, and somewhat drying. The smell did not give away the mystery of the berries. Tremendous range of flavour, best experienced at about room temperature. I could not knock this bomber off myself, but could easily do so with two or three people round a campfire.Thanks Tom.

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to drewone for sharing this one at jmgrub's birthday tasting.

Bottled 5/29/11. Bottle # 1152.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, berries, wine, and wood. Taste is much the same with a slightly sour berry flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and light.

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

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.

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of brentk56
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle No. 344

Appearance: Pours a hazy honey golden color with a modest head that leaves some splashy lace

Smell: Blackberries and wine barrels, with Belgian yeast undertones and a grassy character

Taste: The Belgian yeast character overwhelms the front end (I read somewhere that this was the Duvel strain) with the tart blackberry aspect developing in the middle; after the swallow, the wine barrels add a tannic dryness, with the tartness of the berries bringing up the rear

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: There is a lot going on with this beer, almost too much; the yeast strain is a bit too strong for the rest of the flavors and the blackberries might be just a bit too tart without adding enough of their fruit; having tasted some other Almanac beers lately, I think this brewery is coming along from some of the elements that are distracting in this beer

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

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.

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

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.

Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle # 3,444

From the first time I saw the Almanac website, which was my introduction to the brewery, this beer was at the top of my list of ones I hoped and wished I would get to try.

Looks very interesting on the pour. Nose is soft. Flavor seems to have many things coming together and then hitting you at once. I want to say that the variety of berries in this beer creates a somewhat muddled delivery. There is no distinct character showing through over any other. There seems to be a mild funky thing going on so far in the back of this that you have to wonder if it's waiting to make a grander appearance. I will assume that this is from the barrels. Interestingly, I had this in a wine fridge which didn't chill it down to being cold, and after it warmed up it seemed to open a bit and get more interesting.

Overall, this is a pretty good belgian ale. I think that aging this one may produce some interesting characteristics; but who can guess what that may end up being.

Beautiful design on the label too, by the way.

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?

Photo of mactrail
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fascinatingly weird beer that is full of fruit. The Belgian yeast does come through strongly, but I think the fruit is evident also. Barrel taste may be a bit much, but it all mellows into a slightly sweet but sharp-edged mouthful. Blackberies give an extra acidity that goes with the vanilla and woody flavor. Beautiful tall head on hazy golden amber color and well-laced around the wine glass. Fine and abundant carbonation gives a good mouthfeel.

Another peculiar experiment, but I think it's rather successful. Nothing wrong with a winey, fruity beer with such a pleasant creamy feel to it.

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of yourefragile
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Wasatch
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to dsgolovin for this brew.

750ml
Green Foil
Bottled: 5/29/11
Bottle No.: 143

Poured into a chalice a very nice cloudy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, with a nice one-finger foamy white head, which leaves a huge oil slick in the middle of the glass. The nose is malty, yeast, with some nice slightly blackberries, peppery, licorice notes. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, yeasty, nice little blackberry notes, licorice, lemon, and some pepper notes. Medium Body. This is a very tasty brew, glad to have gotten a chance to try it. Thanks Dave!

Photo of biegaman
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Funny that a beer made with blackberries - and aged in red wine barrels - should turn out to be so orange; this California beer could be an export poster for Florida. Regardless, it's a fairly remarkable looking specimen, with a hard, flashy glow but little actual transparency and a skim, sandy head that is apparently a talented abstract artist at heart.

The barrel has made its mark. Red wine murmurs like a voice in the distance while musty, mildewed wood ruffle the sinuses. Although four different varieties of blackberries were used, there is little to nothing sweet about this aroma - Citra hops, with their screamingly high acidity and lemony citric overtones, is about as close as we get to fruit.

Barrel notes notwithstanding, the aroma first struck me as that of a strong brewed Belgian farmhouse ale - imagine Duvel had a cousin from the countryside. (Note: it turns out they used the Duvel yeast strain.) The intensity in the nose tips you off about its true strength. It is overtly yeasty and has lots of barnyard must. (I don't think berry fruit has any chance up against this kind mustiness.) Its spiciness is peppery enough to make you want to sneeze.

A cross between Belgian golden ale and saison, with moderate alcohol presence and tart sourness, this turns out to have more orange-y and lemon-y citric fruit flavours than it does blackberries. The alcohol is perceived but never tasted, due to industrious carbonation, effervescent spice and a dry, bitter aftertaste. This could surely hold up some time in the right conditions (although I'm not sure ever we'll see more fruit flavour develop).

I love the idea of releasing only seasonal beers brewed with locally sourced fruits, but my two cents: if Almanac Brewing really wanted to make a time capsule of the Sonoma summer, they'd have been wise not to use such a ferocious Belgian yeast strain - 250 pounds of hand-picked blackberries are lost. Aging such a pale beer in red wine barrels was a risky maneuver too, although I'm happy to report that that flavour is only accessory.

Is California just a giant incubator where styles mutate? Despite its uniqueness, I found this beer to be above all a refreshing treat - but a $17 price tag kind of puts just sitting back on a Sunday afternoon and enjoying a few out of the question (for most of us, anyhow). And given that the beer is - despite all the theatrics that went into making it - surprisingly comparable, I'm not even sure I'll bother stocking the cellar with another.

Photo of billab914
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

Photo of Rhettroactive
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to cousin Mike for bringing this out Labor Day weekend. Never heard of it at the time, so glad to be in the know now.

Poured a clear light amber color, good 1.5" head, lots of clarity for a beer w/ fruit in it. Aroma was a little bit virgin oak, fruity berryness is minimal, but present, thankfully not funky or horse blanketish. Delivers ample berry flavor, with the slightest tartness. Not a sugary fruit beer, this is high quality.

Belgian yeast is very subdued. Don't let that aspect keep you away from this beer if its not your thing. I was kinda shocked to see it classified as a BSPA. The yeast and hops are not in the driver's seat.

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Summer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry from Almanac Beer Co.
86 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.