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Summer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry - Almanac Beer Co.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

78 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 78
Reviews: 48
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 15.71%
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:
Beer added by: nataku00 on 02-20-2011

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 78 | Reviews: 48
Photo of seand
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a bubbly clear amber with a mountain of dense foamy off white head. Quite a bit retains well, and leaves thick walls of lacing.

S: Thick, earthy sweetness, with notes of citrus, vegetation, and funk.

T: Subdued and balanced, tart fruit with yeast notes leading into a lightly bitter finish.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall very nice. It doesn't do anything too crazy, is well crafted and balanced, and yet is also unique.

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

Pours a hazy golden color with a medium white head...was expecting something a little more "fruit colored". Scent is faint blackberries, Belgian yeast, and spiciness. Very unique smell. Taste is initially oak barrels...The oak flavors is what standout in this beer for me. The blackberries (and other berries) don't really shine as I wish they would have. There is a noticeable booziness to this beer as well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a crisp finish. Drinkability is fairly high. Overall, this was definitely a drinkable beer that had many high notes...some parts were just different (weird) and unexplainable. By no means was this a mediocre brew...you can tell how well-crafted it is.

Photo of Scrumtralecent
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to leschkie for the extra! Bottled 5/29/11, Bottle 767, poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A - Hazy golden yellow, with plenty of carbonation bubbles rising inside of it. Pretty thick white head that lingers and does some lacing. Small head sticks all the way through tasting, impressive.

S - Nice floral aroma, with sweetness from the wine barrels. The fruitiness of the beer from the blackberries is apparent, and makes this beer very appealing to take a taste of. This has a good aroma, and the berries and wine aging give it more punch than most.

T - Delicious sweet berry flavor along with a nice crisp Belgian flair, and ending with some of that wine coming through and a little heat. As it warms, some oak shines through and adds even more complexity to the taste and aftertaste. Has a light malt to give this some backbone and not make the taste so front loaded. Very complex and well developed. The flavors compliment each other very well.

M - All the berry and wine sweetness makes this sit a little heavier, but that's the sacrifice when there is so much loaded in the taste. Carbonation is good all the way through.

O - Wonderful. Crisp flavors along with some sweetness that created a bold and complex taste. Great balance between the Belgian side, blackberries, and wine so that they played more with each other than dominated one another. I'm looking forward to more from this brewery after this offering.

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
3.01/5  rDev -21.2%
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 popery
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
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.

Photo of brotherloco
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottle. Bottled 5/29/11. Bottle No. 2281.

Poured into tulip. Very much golden ale in appearance. Slightly hazy gold with a couple fingers of off-white head. Head fizzes away pretty quickly to a ring w/ islands of foam. Medium lacing in the glass.

Smells very fruity. Citrus, apples, pears. Some red wine tannins and touches of oak and vanilla. Definite spicy Belgian yeast presence as well.

Taste is nicely blended sweet and sour fruit. Starts off mildly sweet and then swerves in the middle towards the sourness and dries up. Acidic tartness emerges but softens quickly. Wine barrel presence is there with the same touch of oak and vanilla from the nose, but is nicely restrained. A bit of citrusy hops in the finish. No real sign of alcohol to me.

Body is medium with slightly below medium carbonation. Very nice overall.

I'm impressed with this local product. Got another bottle down in the cellar for future enjoyment.

Photo of MasterSki
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
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 dgilks
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly cloudy golden colour with a big, fluffy white head. Good head retention.

Big, spicy aroma with a light tartness. Moderate berry note. To me, this is like a great dry white wine with a great spiciness.

Smooth, light malt with a big dose of attenuated berry flavour. Plenty of spicy coriander and clove and a pleasant bitter back note. Mild drying tartness.

Medium body with moderately-high carbonation. Really lovely and well suited to the beer.

A really great fruited Belgian ale. The subtle fruit notes and great yeast character combine with the malt in lovely ways. Excellent.

Photo of jrallen34
4.19/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Borrrle... Bright golden body, light tan head... Really nice nose of berries, white wine, a touch of oak, really well rounded... The front of the taste is sweet light blackberry syrup with an oak finish, super drinkable, no detection of the abv, a touch

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 5/29/11.

Orange colored body with a good bit of haze, and an off-white head. Retention and lacing are both quite good.

Some fruity hops, a little bit of wood and some Belgian yeast. Not really what I expected.

The flavor takes less from the hops than the aroma, but there is still a fairly aggressive grapefruit flavor. Sugary sweetness mixes with a good dose of Belgian yeast that is lightly fruity, with just a touch of peppery flavor. A decent amount of barnyard type flavor mixes in, and the beer is slightly tart also. Wood is also noticeable, and the berries come along with it, but they are quite muted. Overall, it reminds me of a saison.

The carbonation is similar to what a saison should be also; light with lots of bubbles.

Interesting beer, but probably not worth the 18 bucks I paid for it.

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 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 Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from K&L Wines. Bottle 3284 bottled 5-29-11.

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Pours a cloudy, dark golden color. Nice head of fine bubbles, that dissipates to a thin layer that stays with the beer to the end. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Smells of citrus (grapefruit), with a hint of blackberries, red wine, and honey. The smell is pleasant, and gets better as the beer warms.

Taste: The Belgian strong ale really came through in the taste. It was sour as well, but not from the blackberries, as there was much less blackberry flavor than expected. The tartness increased as the beer warmed. Also a bit of a strange metallic taste.

Mouthfeel: The beer feels nice in the mouth; a good level of carbonation but smooth. Tasted a little like a wild (sour) ale.

Drinkability: Not bad, but I would have preferred a little more blackberry.

Photo of leschkie
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a striking autumn gold with an overall body that contains just enough haze to sufficiently scatter the backlit rays of the setting sun. Does not disappoint. A nice frothy and foamy glacier-colored head lingers about perhaps a little too long as I sit in anticipation for it to finally recede to a level where I can finally take a sip on this warm July evening. Pieces of broken delicate lacing are left behind as the head dissipates.

Smell: Typical Belgian pale aromas at the start including funky yeast, lemon, light honey, and breads. Shortly following, however, is where this one for me really distinguishes itself from the traditional Belgian strong pale. Pleasant scents of the oak barrel (some type of white wine) and vanilla eventually make their way into the aroma. Difficult to detect any of the berries.

Taste: Amazing, simply amazing! I've never had a Belgian strong pale with such complexity. Each character presents itself individually at the start, and then begin to merge into one another with subsequent tastes. Flavor profile started with the traditional Belgian pale (yeast, lemon, honey, breads) which eventually faded into the taste of the barrel (white wine, oak, vanilla), which then transformed into the sweetness of the Sonoma berries. With each sip that followed, all 3 components seemed to merge together rather than stand out on their own. I truly feel sorry for those reviewers who got a "metallic" taste. Luckily, my bottle was absolute perfection.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied with a fairly decent amount of carbination. Spot-on for the style.

Overall: I am so glad I left work early to make the drive up to the North Bay to get my hands on this limited release. I'm typically not a huge fan of Belgian pales because they are a little too light and watery for me and, quite honestly, a bit one-dimensional. But this one just blew me away. Strong, complex flavors that continued to evolve in the back of my throat even after the swallow. If you can get your hands on this, do it! You will not be disappointed! I'll definitely be hanging on to my remaining bottles to see what surprises await as they sit in my cellar.

Photo of Wasatch
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to dsgolovin for this brew.

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 mjl21
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
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.

Photo of CCohen
4.83/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had Almanac's Vintage Summer 2010 offering from two different bottles now and have been so pleased with it that I thought I needed to post a review.

Appearance -- it's a gorgeous straw color with a hint of red from the fruit, slightly cloudy presumably from the fruit pectins. It produces a nice head of very fine bubbles that sustains itself as you drink.

Smell -- the nose has a wonderful funky belgian yeast aroma combined with soft fruit. Very nice.

Taste -- what the nose promises the taste delivers. It's very clearly a top of the line Triple/Belgian Pale beer at it's base, with hints of clove and other spice, as well as a little Belgian funk. The fruit was surprisingly subtle and nice, not at all overwhelming of the other flavors, just sort of tickles the tongue and makes you search for it. The oak barrel aging comes through toward the finish but like the fruit, is not overwhelming. It is a nice surprise is how woody the oak is, rather than being purely vanillin in character, as is so common in many barrel aged brews. Here the oak comes through in a full form and complements the other flavors in a very balanced manner.

Mouthfeel -- Light in body considering the high gravity, reminiscent of a Triple. Medium carbonation. Great balance of tart and malt.

Drink -- This is a very drinkable and superb beer all around. Almanac struck a perfect balance between the Belgian base beer, the local fruit, and the oak aging with this one. After having my first bottle I picked up several more to sit on to see how it will develop over time. It's a real winner for Almanac's first offering, looking forward to future releases.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a opaque orange color with a bit of red mixed in and a finger of frothy white head atop. The head fades down leaving behind some nice lacing on the glass.

S - Aroma is a nice mix of Belgian elements including yeast and banana with some spices, and the fresh sweetness from the blackberries.

T - Starts off with some yeast flavor followed closely behind by fresh blackberry flavor. Not the sugary syrupy flavor, but the real deal. Through the middle, the spices kick in and the yeast gets a bit stronger. The oak flavor from the barrel also becomes a bit more noticeable. The finish is a mix of sweet blackberries and yeast that lingers nicely.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and remarkably well balanced. The finish is a perfect mix of sweetness from the blackberries and Belgian elements.

D - Very drinkable. The flavor are all remarkably well balanced between the Belgian Ale base, and the effect of the added blackberries and the oak barrel aging. Really enjoyable beer.

Photo of largadeer
2.36/5  rDev -38.2%
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 FosterJM
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

629th Review on BA
Bottle to small snifter

Bottled 5/29/11
Bottle #1707

Thanks to Bman1113vr for this one

App- A golden looking brew with a puffy one finger head that dissapaited rapidly and left a subtle amount of cling to it. Was a little tinted with some orange and that brought out a nice sheen to the beer.

Smell- This smell quite tart and tannic like with the hop, zest and blackberries taking center stage. Was a nice aroma just a bit bright and spitzy.

Taste- Taste followed the nose but was a bit unbalanced to the aciditic side. The bubbles of the bottle conditioning add a nice touch to the flavor and complexity of the beer. Very forward with the hoppy zest characteristics.

Mouth- Medium bodied and high carbonated. The bubbles really do a job on your palate and expand what this beer is. Its a nice spritzy rep of the style.

Drink- I am very happy to have had the chance to try this. It was very different from a lot of the beers in the BSPA style or sour or wild ale. It was different and I think the blackberries threw me as a flavor I am not used to.

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.72/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle #2000 into an oversized wine glass. Pours a deep gold with a slight pink hue. The head is a good two fingers to start, leaves quick, no lace.

Pale malts, a hint of wheat, berries and a bit of wine barrel. Smells only slightly of citrus as it warms. Very inviting.

The taste has a nice bread and lemon start. Sweet berries and a slight red wine tartness. The finish has a slight oak, berry and citrus mix. Top notch all the way through.

A great barrel aged (at least partially) brew. I hope I can find the funds to get another for the cellar.

Photo of Trilogy31
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle number 1674. Pours a pretty sunset orange with hints of red, with a creamy two fingers of head that leaves nice lacing. The nose has almost a souffle egg quality to it in a pleasant way. Also yeasty spice, sweet vanilla malts and vinous dark fruits. Very similar to me in the way of dfh red and white in nose and taste. The taste brings a nice creaminess along with dusty spices, hints of vanilla and dark berries, along with a touch of bright citrus at the end. The mouthfeel brings oaky tannins as well as the abv being somewhat noticeable which really makes me look forward to trying this with some bottle age on it. Call it bay area homerism if you want but i find this to have some striking similarities to red and white another beer i love.

Photo of beddachedda
2.61/5  rDev -31.7%
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.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.85/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Bruery fluted goblet to produce about a half inch head. Body is a hazy apricot color and the head is a foamy and a luscious eggshell white. This looks like a Belgian golden ale, and leaves some soapy lacing on the glass, but the lacing is more motile than dry and sticky. Has decent head retention to the end of the glass.

This smells of sweet malt, citrus rind, berry fruit--subtly, but definitely smells of blackberries to me--as well as cinnamon spice. There is a nice strain of Belgian yeast used in this.

The taste is wonderful but also a challenge to describe. Tastes first of Belgian bready malt sweetness and yeast. It has that special combination of malt and Belgian yeast that many a good Belgian golden ale possesses. A more bready Duvel base, the malty sweetness coats the tongue. Then the blackberries and other berries come in with a lovely but different sort of dark berry sweetness. Finally, this ends with a spicy finish, like Supplication--I wonder if Pinot barrels were used in aging this. Also a pleasant toffee note in the finish. There is just enough alcohol in this to make it a strong ale without being overpoweringly boozy. But the main sensation overall is the wonderful berry fruit that lasts and lasts in the long delectable finish. This is so nicely balanced.

Body is medium, and the carbonation is prickly, producing a nice creamy mouthfeel. Sort of like a champagne combined with a fruit nectar.

This is a wonderful beer. I had a barrel sample at a party last fall but I couldn't predict then how well this beer would come together as a finished product with superb bottle conditioning. This beer is very fresh and pleasant to drink; it has no off-flavors at all (to me), and lives up to its billing as a good summer ale. As a first product, it hits so many good notes. This beer will surely accumulate some medals. Wonderfully drinkable and satisfying.

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Summer 2010 Vintage - Blackberry from Almanac Beer Co.
86 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.