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Farmer's Reserve #1 - Almanac Beer Co.

Not Rated.
Farmer's Reserve #1Farmer's Reserve #1

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

183 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 183
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 8.78%
Wants: 136
Gots: 29 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Almanac Beer Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: augustgarage on 02-13-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Our first California wild ale is brewed with a blend of Cabernet & Muscat Grapes from Alfieri Farms, Concord grapes from Hamada Farms and plums from Twin Girls Farm—all located in the fertile San Joaquin Valley. Aged for over a year in used wine barrels, this sour ale blends rich flavors of the 2011 autumn harvest with farmhouse funk.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 183 | Reviews: 30
Photo of stakem
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

375ml into a snifter. The brew appears a clear copper color with a big bubbly head that has no retaining power. The smell isnvinous and mildly medicinal. As it breaths it almost smells like a box of crayons... The taste is tart and fruity/vinous with mild medicinal edge and slight herbal character. It is light bodied, very fizzy and interesting. I think the initial aroma is perhaps the best attribute of this brew.

Photo of jegross2
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

Reviewing the Farmer's Reserve No. 1, a wild ale brewed with plums and three different types of grapes from the Almanac Beer Co. out of San Francisco, California.

Score: 85

February 2013 vintage bottle served in a 7venth Sun snifter and enjoyed on 08/19/14. Thank you Fabrizio for the bottle!

Appearance: Reddish orange in color with a distinct yellow fade when held up to the light. Pours a half finger of head that settles to a ring around the glass with an island of residual froth floating in the center of the glass. Excellent lacing and retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Grape, plum, lemon, must, pear and a little lactic acid. Straight out of the fridge there is a distinctly unpleasant waft of poo poo pediococcus, but this disappears as the beer sits out to breath for about 10 minutes. Otherwise, quite pleasant. 4/5

Taste: Stone fruit and grape upfront, lacto and a residual sweetness on the finish. Sourness comes mostly across in the middle. Slightly buttery on the finish, with a little lasting power. Solid, but unspectacular. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium/medium-light carbonation. Nice, but not strong, sourness. Modestly dry finish. 3.5/5

Overall: There's a bit of off flavor here, most of which airs out as the beer warms up and gets a chance to breathe, but this is/was a solid first commercially brewed (fruited) wild ale from a newer brewery. Later sour projects such as Farmer's Reserve No. 3 and the Pluot sour certainly demonstrate their competence as a local alternative to Russian River.

Cost: $12.99 for a 375 ml bottle.

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to angrybabboon for sharing the bottle.

Appearance: Almost perfectly clear pumpkin orange with some rich gold running through it. Head is bright-white with decent retention. Nice chunks of sticky lacing. Small cap and some moderate carbonation.

Smell: Grapes, lots of grapes. Fleshy grape juice and some tannic grape skin. Funky yeast adds earthy, damp, grassy elements in abundance. Some deeper fruit buried in the back. Fruity like peaches and raspberry with some tart edges. Powdery damp yeast. Sweet and tart. A touch of worn leather and some apricot. A bit lactic. Floral as well with some solid oak.

Taste: Oak with some leather and a very mild fruitiness. Some raspberry and a ton of grape skin and flesh. A bit lactic with some mild powdery yeast. Sharp tart bite on the back and it increases as it warms. Some vague dark fruit pushing toward cherry. A bit more mellow than the nose indicates. Yeast is a touch powdery with some underlying brett funk. A touch earthy with some grass and hay. Damp mustiness. Wet and juicy sour. Nice balance of tart and funk and fruit. Oh hey, did I mention the oak.

Mouthfeel: Wet with a slight astringency. Clean with a medium to light body and minimal carbonation.

Overall: Bottled farm fruit.

A nice clean wild. Not a mind-melter, but worth drinking. Nicely balanced.

Photo of angrybabboon
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased in San Francisco about a year ago, split with Goblinmunkey7

Consumed 3/25/14

Appearance: Medium orange copper - lightly hazy - pours with a small bright white head, keeps a wispy cap, leaves some nice streaks of lacing

Smell: Delightfully sour with a lot of red wine barrels in the background - sharp, bright acidic sour - some lactic sour - some funk, Brett, and some straight-up barrel - plums and some grapes - the red wine note is strong but not excessive

Taste: Nicely sour and very interesting - more lactic sour than I would have guessed from the aroma, but some sharp acidity as well - lemony funk - plum flavor, dark berries, with some grapes, but more of a red wine flavor - red wine barrel with some oak in the finish

Mouthfeel: Light body, smooth, light acidity in the finish

Overall: Worth reserving

This is quite a nice sour. It has a ton of funky sour as well as some interesting red wine notes. I would say this lives up to the hype. I probably should have bought more than one when I had the chance.

Photo of beepill
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a bottle I have been cellaring for about a year now.

A - Beautiful pour. Poured an opaque medium amber color with a fine, quickly dissipating head. Little to no lacing.

S - The wine barrel aging is very evident in the initial smell. Red wine, black grapes, and sour plums dominate. Also getting some lemon zest, pink lady apple, and old oak.

T - Very balanced tartness. Sour, unripe plums, sour white grapes, lemon zest, yellow grapefruit and raspberries, with a faint hint of sweetness. A bit of oak and funk on the backend.

M - Very mild carbonation, which probably helps bring out the flavors, but could use a little more carb to make for a better mouthfeel. Tart bitterness on the afterbite is pleasant.

O - Great tarty sour beer. Another awesome brew from Almanac. I was pleasantly surprised that the fruitiness held up for this long. Sad to think that this may be the last time I ever taste this one. Straight, solid A.

Photo of LittleDon
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours amber with very little head. Aroma is very muted. Grain, oak, apples, and a bit of spice. Heavy carbonation and light body. Flavor is its strong point. A subtle sour. Great balance between sweet and dry with a hint of oak. Light sourness and very mild funk on the finish. BTW, I cellared this about a year, which may have toned down some of the characteristics.

Photo of mactrail
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Lovely fizz to this stuff poured into the snifter. It starts out with a rich fruity scent, which is my favorite part. Aromas of grapes and apricots with a distinct vinegar note. It's all very tart but with a nearly drinkable level of acidity. A taste of fermented apple cider leads down a funky path to a bitter finish.

I'd love it if Almanac would make a version of this like Rodenbach brews, with half new, fruity brew and a big dose of this sour aged version. From the 12 oz bottle at Local Habit in San Diego. It was fourteen bucks, as I recall.

Photo of laituegonflable
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a pale orange colour, bit of cloud. Head is white, decent lace but just a ring. Alright.

Smells Bretty and funky. Good vinegary tartness with rich apple, currant and balsamic notes. Yeah, redcurrant, tart, some wild funk. Very pleasant.

Taste more funky and more tart as well. Lots of barnyard with wet lucerne, some touch of balsamic, strawberry, champagne on the back. Quite a pleasant, European funk note to it. Not overly polarising, but a good deal to make you sit up and take notice.

Full mouthfeel, lots of little bits in my mouth. Pull on the back.

Funky, not overly refreshing. But if this beer were a person, I would let it look after my kids. It's alright. I trust it.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Short bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Rich and Sam.

Pours a clean clear cloudy orange, with a persistent head of white that leaves streaks of sudsy lace. Body is quite fine and thin. Carbonation is decently held. Looks pretty good.

Nose is fresh and bright: slightly fruity, with a rounded acidity that reminds me of berry gelato. Almost a pleasant gueuze-like character to it, but with a savoury grain character that pulls it back into true ale territory.

Taste has a very pleasant acidity through it that provides the core and basis of the beer. Some sweet fruity characters come through around the edges: a little stone fruit skin and more of those fresh berry characters. And there's also a decent grainy malt character still permeating it: it grounds it in some sense, but also provides a counterpoint to the acidity.

Feel is clean and light. In fact, a little more body might help the beer veer away slightly from the acidity—but how it is, it just emphasises that the acidity is the core.

Overall, this is very good stuff: bright, fresh and clean with decent balance and plenty of interest. Almanac continue to have a very good run with me, providing exceptionally clean and integrated wild ales.

Photo of ehammond1
2.38/5  rDev -42%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2

Bottle (2013)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

An unfortunate blemish on an otherwise incredible series of Farmer's Reserve beers. This one has a distinct aroma of vomit, and the flavor, though not as bad, it's similarly bad. Fairly sour, and some definite Muscat grape character as well, but a dominant vomit character overrides most of the enjoyable, worthwhile flavor here. This one may get significant better with time, and if I'm fortunate enough to try another bottle (and it's better), I'd be happy to update my review.

Photo of impending
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A-

375ml into a sensuous wine glass. Pours a crystal clear nice amber copper, minor egg cream color head recedes to a single bubble layer cap that remains till the last, minor lacing,

The aroma reaches a good distance from the bottle, sour. The grapes are on full display smelling fresh off the vine fresh : ) the plums not so much but plum skin perhaps. Pleasant minor tart.

The taste is restrained. Everything on the label and in the scent carry through. The tart is very minor no real sour of measure. Long lasting aftertaste that continues to evolve for as long as you can notice. More than thin medium bodied lively mouthfeel, appropriate tannins.
cheers
jd

Photo of HoppyKilaMonster
4.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a bottle at stone brewery.
Pours a light copper with minimal head that dissapates quickly.
Barrel age is very present in the nose,more so than in taste
Sour, tart grape flavor
Smooth, tart finish

Overall, a good quality sour. I would love to have it again

Photo of mroberts1204
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy straw color with bright white head that slowly dissipates to a ring around the glass. Aroma is a little funky and sour with a hint of old grapes and lemon. Strong lactic presence. The taste is sour and oaky with more odd tart grape flavors that don't seem to have much cohesion. The mouthfeel is dry and spritzy. It's the one thing that they nailed with this beer. I pick out only the grapes in this beer. No plums. Good not great. I liked it but i wouldn't order it again.

Photo of vfgccp
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Nice, clear, solid gold body. Fine, pure white head. Nice retention, poor lace.

S - Tart, lightly tanniny. Granny smith apple, champagne, lemon, white oak.

T - Firm tartness, plum, oak, unripe white grape, crisp unripe pear. Lemon acidity and a light saltiness complement the bright, tart white fruits.

M - Fantastically dry. Medium, creamy body with well balanced carbonation. Nice, lingering finish.

O - Well balanced with a complex mouthfeel and an excellent flavor profile.

Photo of popery
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium amber, a glowy brown-ish orange. Somewhat cloudy. The head is small to medium and slightly yellowed white. Fine foam. Most of the head dissipates after a minute, but there's a nice blanket left over. Some lacing. The aroma has a very nice fruit flavor, and you can really pick out the grape varieties and plums. It's juicy and sweet with a refined, musty fruit skin edge. The wine barrel adds a deeper fruit and oak flavor. Quite a nice combination. My only complaint is that there seems to be a touch of butter in there, though that will probably fade away with time and I seem to be more sensitive than most about such things. The taste starts with that sweet, juicy fruit (and the touch of butter) before it gets tarter and oakier. The finish is dry and packs a good tart bite. Medium sour. Lots of fruit. Very good after a hot day. Mouthfeel has prickly carbonation and some nice pucker. Mild to medium tannic from the barrel. I've liked both of these Farmer's Reserve sours quite a bit - significantly more than when I tried them on tap, for some reason. It's great to see Almanac put out some better stuff, particularly sours, which seems like a natural area for them (and the sour version of their first beer was excellent). I'm definitely looking forward to the next round of Farmer's Reserves.

Photo of Knapp85
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a hazy golden color with a decent white head on top. The lacing is spotted and the retention isn't too bad. The smell is funky and fruity, subtle grape aromas and barrel aged aromas fill the nose. The taste of the beer is tart, decent sour malt fruitiness. The mouthfeel is lighter bodied. Pretty nice overall I enjoy this one.

Photo of EspressoGuy
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Ale brewed with plums and Cabernet, Muscat & Concord grapes and aged in used wine barrels"
375ml bottle; bought by recommendation by friendly knowledgeable clerk at Whole Foods in SF.
A: clear light copper
S: like a fine refreshing Riesling. Delicate sourness. Grape must. Clean and fresh.
T: light, fresh, delicate; refreshing, long lingering clean taste. Mild grapefruit juice. Complex.
M: delicate, very light and refreshing. Beautiful.
O: That is one fine beer. I feel like I'm drinking a wonderful wine instead of a beer. The flavours aren't broad but they are complex and delicate. This is one to drink slowly and linger with every sip. It's all in balance. I hope my friends enjoy the other Farm to Barrel beers I brought back as gifts.

Photo of elNopalero
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Almanac Farmers Reserve #1! Sour ale!

This pours a glowing orange yellow. The aroma is tart, with a slight funk emerging as it warms. I find dominant notes are a combination of sour cherries, dandelion greens and a stinky cheese funk. Nice.
The flavor comes across with an initial bitterness which dovetails into a light funk. Definitely expect the funk to become more present as this beer sits for some more time. I found flavors of wet hay, carrot juice, funky cheese, and some pinot grigio notes. Dry finish.

Another excellent beer from the folks at Almanac.

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brown 375ml bottle with etched label.

A: Pours a clear peachy yellow with an initial one-inch white head which fades quickly to a thin cap and rim leaving splotchy lace.

N: Barnyard funk, vinous, wet wood, with some mold/must and fruity, grassy and citrus notes.

T: Mildly tart with some astringency, vinous with oak, and some dusty cheese.

M: Semi-moderate body and carbonation. Dry and fruity finish.

O: Nice and enjoyable. The plums are very faint with the barrel and prominent grapes and funk being the dominate parts to the whole. Just a tad thin.

Photo of ElSid
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Beers of California

#75

A: Deep orange golden with a head of micro, white bubbles which fades to a collar.

N: White wine up front with a tart and acetic acid twang. Faint and clean sweetness comes through at times, but the biting tartness commands the olfactory.

T: Green apple, kiwi, plum, grape and hint of black pepper and lemon zest open. There are moments of wood and bread smoothness, but ultimately, the astringent tartness and acetic acid sharpness wrestles the palate to a dry and puckering finish.

M: Full, yet at he same time light. The moderate carbonation supports the tart palate. Coating syrupy linger adds to feel.

O: A very nice sour that thins the line between beer and wine. The bright and crisp fruit pairs well with the tart, acetic bite producing a much enjoyed ale that I hope to try again some time soon.

Photo of WillCarrera
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle, bottled in Winter 2012, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark, hazy apricot color, topped with a thin layer of white head that recedes to a collar.

S- Very nice aroma, lots of plum, grapes, pear, lemon and lactic acidity. The sourness seems solid and the fruit aroma is pretty complex. The aroma is great, but I was a bit worried based on the smell that the beer would taste very sweet, which, fortunately, isn't the case at all.

T- Nice lactic sourness, more tart than I was expecting. The fruit falls off a bit here from the aroma. Although it's a bit toned-down, there are some nice flavors of white grape, apples, plums, peach? and some oak and funk.

M- Medium-bodied, carbonation is moderate to low, but does the job, this isn't nearly approaching Lost Abbey levels of flatness.

O- My first beer from Almanac and I was pleasantly surprised, the fruit flavor and tartness were both done well, this is a solid sour and definitely worth picking up, I'm looking forward to the other Almanac beers I bought.

Photo of DovaliHops
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange color with a medium white head that disappears quickly. Scent is heavy in the grape department. I am really not that skilled to pick out all the different grapes, but I'm gonna definitely say there are some red and white grape aromas. Scent is EXTREMELY fruity with some lovely plum, apricot, kiwi, and strawberry aromas. Very unique nose on this one. Slightly vinous with some oak and tart aromas. Taste is a bit more sour than the nose implies...not puckering, but a fair amount of tartness to this one. Funky wild yeast flavors up front with some Brett characteristics. A lot of oak and a hint of vanilla. A lot of white grape flavor up front, but finishes with red grape skin. Plums, kiwis, and strawberries keep popping up on the palate. Finishes with more oak and somewhat dry. Mouthfeel is somewhat soda-like. Drinkability is very high. Overall, after trying this and the Farmer's Reserve 2, Almanac has really stepped their game up. This one could have used a bit more sourness and some more depth. It reminded me of a sparkling fruit juice with a hint of booziness... the oak did help it a lot though. A very tasty beverage nonetheless.

Photo of brentk56
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives looking like a glass of cider with a slight plum tinge; no head or lacing

Smell: Fruity aromatics that are stone fruit dominant, with plum and nectarine; grapey tones, too, with a lemony/oaky sourness

Taste: Lactic sourness bringing all the fruit flavors from the aroma into play; the stone fruit and oak leave the most memorable elements

Mouthfeel: Thick body (again, like a cider) with an acetic bite; low carbonation

Overall: Despite the weird look and mouthfeel, the flavors were very refreshing and the liquid disappeared from the pint glass almost before I realized how quickly I was drinking it; I suspect this may be very different in the bottle if the appearance/mouthfeel of #2 (which I tasted the next day) was more indicative

Photo of Pecan
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep yellow with pink tint. Quickly dissipating white head.

Nose presents the familiar sour smell with a trailing sweet grape scent.

Surprisingly not as tart as I would have expected. Except for a brief moment, I'd almost call this bland. Initial taste of grapes and maybe a little sour plum shrouded in tartness that fades almost immediately into an acetic tone like white vinegar. The acetic taste transitions into a wine barrel flavor finish. The flavor ends abruptly.

Mouthfeel is light and bubbly. The carbonation subsides at the end at about the same time the flavor disappears.

Not a bad sour, but too acetic for my tastes. Also nothing that will blow anyone's mind, but a solid choice if you're a fan of wine and acetic sours.

Photo of GRG1313
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Brewed with Plums and Cabernet, Muscat and Concord grapes, aged in wine barrels.

Slightly hazy orange amber with a short lived white head.

Nose is orange marmalade and orange rind. Nose is actually very muscat wine in character.

Mouthfeel is tart, fresh and citric with very light carbonation and a nice balance.

Flavors are tart lemon/tangerine, orange rind and light marmalade with a hint of lacto in the back end.

Finish is bitter orange tart with a hint of sour lacto undertone. Very drinkable; very nice and very much like a lighter, "friendlier" european sour.

This is a high quality beer. I'm going out to buy several bottles. I'll drink this one as much as I can.

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Farmer's Reserve #1 from Almanac Beer Co.
91 out of 100 based on 183 ratings.