Wisconsin Belgian Red - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Wisconsin Belgian RedWisconsin Belgian Red

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

937 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 937
Hads: 3,085
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 1,112
Gots: 649 | FT: 73
Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Fruit / Vegetable Beer |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-22-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Wisconsin Belgian Red Alström Bros
Reviews: 937 | Hads: 3,085
Photo of marc77
3.49/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hazy ruby in hue, covered by a lightly pinkish, thin white head. Cherries expectedly dominate the aroma and are very fresh in nature. As the brew warms, a caramel malt aroma and nuttiness surface slowly, lending a subtle marzipan note when combined with the fruitiness. Assertively sweet in flavor, with sugary fresh cherry sweetness dominating the flavor profile. A mild tartness partially offsets the sweetness, but fruity sweetness remains dominant. Strong cherry persists from start to finish and perhaps overshadows malt character, leaving this brew a bit one dimensional. Well carbonated with a spritzy mouthfeel. Appropriately light body. Finishes with a combination of sugary sweetness and subdued tartness lingering on the palate. Although the fruitness was very fresh and clean overall, Wisconsin Belgian Red seemed to lack the malt character that their Raspberry tart had. It's a unique and enjoyable brew nonetheless!

Big, huge thanks to Bighuge for the bottle! (977 characters)

Photo of Brunite
3.49/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared this bottle with family at Mom's b-day.

Appearance: Deep violet-red. Not much head.

Smell: 100% tart cherries.

Taste: Cherry is all. Tart & sweet. Just a tad on the sweeter side....perhaps too much for me. Just shy of being cloying.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and tart.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this beer but preferred the Raspberry Tart. This one was just a bit too sweet for me. I'd never be able to finish a bottle by myself. I could with the Raspberry. (464 characters)

Photo of Azurescens
3.49/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle with no bottled on or freshness date, poured into Hair of the Dog tulip, reviewed on 9/2/11.

A: Pours deep red with light pinkish head that leaves a bit of lacing around glass.

S: Lots of cherries in the aroma, not wild cherries but more of a maraschino - candy - cough syrup cherry aroma, some malt and no alcohol or hops.

T: Like the aroma, lots of maraschino cherries, sweet and slightly tart as well. no alcohol or hops and a long lingering taste of cherries.

M: Light, crisp and slightly tart light-medium body and semi-dry finish.

O: Lots of cherry flavor from start to finish, but I am not a fan of the artificial tasting cherries in this opposed to the natural cherry flavor of a kriek. (713 characters)

Photo of devilben02
3.5/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a much appreciated gift from my in-laws after they visited the brewery. Shared with a number of friends, this one pours a rich red-amber color with an only slightly tinted white foamy head. The presence of the fresh fruit that goes into this beer is immediately apparent, with an aroma of freshly-pressed cherry juice just exploding from the beer's surface.

As enticing as that fresh fruitiness is in the aroma, however, the fact that the flavor is much the same is a bit of a let down. This beer just doesn't have the depth that I would have wanted. I wanted to sense some complexity from the interplay of the fruit with the grains, some degree of balance from the hops, and especially some earthy/woodsy character from the oak aging. Instead, all I got was an all-natural version of Cherry 7-Up.

Make no mistake, this is an easy-to-drink, lightly sweet, pleasant drink. The light, soft carbonation keeps the sweetness from overwhelming, and this beer can almost be considered refreshing. In the end, though, I was expecting a world class beer and instead got what tasted more like a world class soda. (1,114 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.52/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

BOTTLE: 1 pint 9 fl oz. Green glass. Red wax-ed over iconic branded pry-off cap. Good label design. Courtesy of the very generous Duff27.

Served cold into a Cantillon flute at high altitude in Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live as a Belgian red ale per the label, though its obvious fruit component is a big factor.

Allowed to come to temperature as it warms.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~1.5 inches wide. Pinkish white colour. Nice complexion. Not real thick or full. Retention is nice - round 4 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Clear vibrant deep red. Clean, with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment.

Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, it's a nice looking red ale, but it's not stunning or unique. I recall the other New Glarus fruit beers looking brilliant; this pales in comparison.

AROMA: The dominant cherry is nice, but some North American drinkers will definitely note medicinal cough syrup character. Powdered white sugar. Very tart, to its benefit. The tartness plays well with the cherries - as least here in the aroma.

Aromatic intensity is average.

I find no oak character, roasted barley, wine, or hop notes (as mentioned on the label).

It's appealing overall, but I worry it will be medicinal.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Cherry rightly dominates, and is complemented beautifully by the soft powdery mouthfeel. The tartness plays off the cherry, delivering a gorgeous one-two punch of synergistic flavours, but I can't help but wonder if some souring bacteria additions would really set this off in a direction I'd love. It's beautifully balanced, though it does flirt with what some North American drinkers will associate with a medicinal or cough syrupy taste.

Balanced as it is, it's not the most intricate brew, and doesn't boast the level of nuance and subtlety that the other beers in this series do. Still, it's a lovely build for a fruit ale, and I'd definitely call it gestalt. That said, the ostensible Belgian character is lacking; nothing about this screams Belgian yeast.

I also find no oak - which is a missed opportunity - and no roasted barley (Belgian or otherwise) or overt hop character.

The mouthfeel is wonderful, boasting perfect carbonation, an ideal light to medium body, and perfect heft and weight on the palate for this kind of beer. It's sticky, sure, but not syrupy - which helps it avoid the pitfall of a medicinal cherry taste to me. Acidity is well above average.

Well put-together and enjoyable to drink.

The mouthfeel exceeds the taste in quality, and its excellent execution helps make the beer more expressive. Nice pairing of texture to taste.

OVERALL: It's a lovely albeit simple fruit ale from New Glarus that is devilishy easy to drink and pretty high in quality. That said, it's not the world-class offering the other New Glarus fruit beers are, and there are missed opportunities for increased intricacy and subtlety. I'll love putting this bottle down, but I don't think I'd buy it again if I had access to other better New Glarus beers. It's disappointing if only because I expected greatness given the brewery, but it's still a hell of a fruit ale, and always tastes like a beer - never a candy or fruit soda. Easily one of the better genuine fruit ales brewed in the U.S.A.

Enormous thanks to Duff27 for this long-time want.

Low B (3.52) (3,340 characters)

Photo of ncvbc
3.52/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a murky reddish brown, thin fizzy head and big carbonation. Well, it looks like cider and smells the same way. Cherry and a spicy cider character. Very sweet and fruity, plain and simple. Taste has a lot of cider-like flavor to it...right as it hits my tongue that's what I think of. It's quite sweet and sugary with a little hint of yeast. Somewhat tart cherry finish. Mouthfeel is alive with carbonation and tart. Hmm, I don't think this is my style. There's not much wrong with this beer, it just doesn't sit well. I really don't feel like I'm drinking beer right now. I can see why some people would love the hell out of this one, I guess it's not my style. Funny thing is...the drinkability score is lower for me simply because I'm not digging it completely. If you enjoy this type of beer, I bet you could drink the hell out of it aside from how much it would cost. No alcohol at all and doesn't seem like beer. Close your eyes and imagine.

Cheers to jw347 and scoobydank for sending bottles my way (1,012 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
3.52/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this into a Champagne Flute and a tulip glass as the label says enjoy in either a brandy snifter or champagne glass. Poured one for my wife and one for myself.

Neither pour produced any sort of head. In the snifter I tried to aggressively pour and still nothing built up. The color is a cloudy reddish/purple color. Speckled lacing dots the glass as the beer is consumed.

The aroma is certainly of cherries and also has an earthy quality to it. You can detect a sharpness or tart nature to the aroma. This is certainly consistent with cherries.

The taste is certainly very interesting and obviously different. Is it a cider? A sparkling wine? Beer? Starts a bit sweet, then heads to a tartness that lets you know we are dealing with real cherries. It then finishes with a slight bread like quality that lingers in the background of the tartness. Yes, it has a fruity cherry nature to it from front to back.

The mouth feel is certainly sparkling and vibrant. The drinkability is the real question for me. It's a slow drinker in a different way than an Imperial Russian Stout. The tart nature is almost shocking with every sip.

I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to try this, but I'm not sure it's my cup of tea.

You can tell it's a well built beer though. (1,276 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
3.53/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks to Casey for this extra. My first bottle of Belgian Red.

A- A very interesting combination of ruby reddish brown. There are bubbles everywhere, and a fizzy white head.

S-Cherry jolly ranchers. It smells sweet. Those are pretty much the only things I can pick out.

T- Pretty much like the nose. The sweetness hits my tongue instantly, and then notes of Cherry Jolly Ranchers are pretty much what I get. The cherries actually do taste pretty real, which is a nice touch.

M- Pretty fizzy which is fitting, but a little thick any cloying. The sweetness is just a bit too much. Good flavor though for such a low ABV beer.

O- This is a very tasty beer, but not something I could drink regularly. It is very sweet, almost overly sweet. Very remenicent of Raspberry Tart, but with cherries. Am vacationing with my Dad, he said it tasted like cough syrup =)

-GFunk (877 characters)

Photo of Ryan011235
3.54/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone 15th Anniversary snifter on 5/3/12

Thanks to smurfbeer for the chance to try this long time want.

Though a dirty rose color while being poured, the beer takes a darker turn toward rust and light plum. Held to the light, however, it has a nearly crimson sheen; it's quite bright. The head didn't pass more than half an inch an wisps out in no time. Some collar retention.

The aroma is a deep and sugary cherry: cherry pie, cherry concentrate, cherry preserves. Overtones of vanilla as it begins to warm. Faint cracker grains. I like the smell enough, but I'm afraid this is going to be a sugar bomb.

Huh. Not quite as sugary as I was expecting, but pretty close. The cherries are undeniable; sugary and heavily outfitted. Though it adds some to the sweetness, I'm glad there is a somewhat decently proportioned cracker and pie crust malt offset to flesh out the overall flavor. A bit tart, but it could stand for more stimulation in that respect.

The feel is a bizarre cross between a medium-light body and a sticky sugar bent. The beer feels far heavier than it actually is. Carbonation is moderate.

Overall impression - It's like hearty cherry soda. It's like a good, shitty port... without all that pesky alcohol. (1,242 characters)

Photo of MSchae1017
3.55/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was tasted in a wine glass from the 750mL bottle. The beer pours a hazy pinkish red with a white head sporting a hint of pink as well. The head dissipates without leaving much lace. The smell is straight cherry juice. The taste bursts forth with more cherries and a bit of tartness to keep the sweetness in check, but the cherries really dominate. Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with lively carbonation. A nice fruit beer displaying the cherries very well. Just a bit too sweet and overwhelming for me. (513 characters)

Photo of djmichaelk
3.57/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

750ml bottle into a snifter. Had to have this in several sittings, as noted below. Courtesy of RTrain12 (thanks Ryan!).

A - Looks like fetid pond water. No head, and no lacing. Just a weird, cloudy, reddish-brown. It may be one of the worst-looking beers I've ever seen, which seems out of place for a beer of this quality. I absolutely do not understand all the high ratings for appearance for this beer. Luckily, it gets better.

S - Unsurprisingly, cherries are everywhere. Somehow sweet and tart at the same time.

T - Wow, this is delicious. Tart cherries are dominant, and maybe a hint of apples lurking in the background, but that's it. Like a liquid Luden's cough drop. It begins tart, then becomes sweet, and then back to tart on the finish. There's really not much more to say about it other than that. Somewhat one-dimensional, but it handles that one dimension SO well. The alcohol, although there's not much to begin with, is not noticeable in any way.

M - Medium bodied, with a fairly short finish. Perfect carbonation.

D - The cherries definitely got to me after a couple of glasses. I had to drink this over the course of two days, as there was no way I could go through an entire 750 in one sitting. While the flavor is nice, it can just be too much of a good thing.

O - Very glad I got the chance to try this. I could see it as a fantastic dessert beer, but it would definitely have to be split among the entire table. (1,444 characters)

Photo of Kadonny
3.57/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 waxed top bottle into a tulip glass. Shared with my wife on Christmas evening.

A: A deep reddish mahogany color with a one finger reddish fizzy head. No glass lacing and the head does disappear.

S: Cherries galore! Wow, smells just like a cherry soda with some tartness. I'm not getting much else on the smell.

T: Cherries, cherries, cherries. A huge cherry flavor that starts, stays and finishes. Some slight oak and yeast that keep the beer somewhat tart and doesn't allow the sweetness to totally take over, but the sweetness still wins in the end. After a few sips, this starts to get very "cherry cough syrupy" with the flavor.

M: Fizzy, tart, sweet with no alcohol.

O: Ok, I struggle to see how people are rating this beer so high. Where is the complexity? There is none in my eyes, it's all cherry all the time with flavors that start to wear on you after awhile. Am I missing something here?

I normally like fruit beers, but this one to me is just one dimensional and starts to taste like cough syrup to me. Not totally digging that. I enjoyed the experience, but I won't seek it out again. (1,124 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.58/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy reddish-brown with two fingers of red-tinged head that recedes into a thin layer with decent lacing.

S: Some tart cherry aromas at first followed by lots of sweet cherry notes. There are some slight bubblegum and yeast aromas towards the finish.

T: Sweet cherries up front followed by some strong tart and sour cherry notes. Very slight yeast character on the aftertaste.

M: Medium-light body with medium carbonation that accents the tart and sour notes well.

O: A decent beer, but like their Raspberry Tart, it's so simple that I can't call it a great beer. I just want more depth and complexity than pure cherries. (645 characters)

Photo of Pencible
3.58/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a hazy ruby with a little off-white head.
S: It smelled like sugary sweet cherry. Surprising lack of complexity here.
T: It tasted like super sweet cherry, with a tart finish. Nice clean aftertaste. That's about all.
M: It was watery with lots of natural carbonation. Nice light body.
D: This was basically one-dimensional, which was somewhat disappointing to me. It had a terrific natural cherry taste, but nothing else. It must be sipped, since it's so sweet. This could go well with vanilla ice cream, but it's challenging to drink a full glass by itself. Nice to try once, but I probably won't have this one again. (633 characters)

Photo of beveritt
3.6/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a wine bottle into a champagne flute. The label is a typical New Glarus, unbelached paper with a short description about the beer. This bottle has over a pound of cherries used.

Appearance: Pours with 2 fingers of slightly pink faom. This settles into a luscious, creamy head, with a fair amount of lacing left behind. The beer itself is a deep reddish brown.

Smell: Tart cherry aroma. What can I say, not much else.

Taste: Tart sour cherries again. Very slight bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Lots of tiny bubbles, like they used a partial methode champenoise. Body is okay.

Drinkability: A great beer, definitely off the beaten path. Like a liquid version of sour cherry jam. Very refreshing. (730 characters)

Photo of willyc
3.6/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a great example of a brewery reflecting their local suroundings in the beer that they brew. The appearance is ruby red, with a one finger head and good lacing. The nose is CHERRY with a little oak and almond. The flavor is great at first.... but am I alone by saying that this is Slushy sweet? I mean It's well done and maybe I should have shared the 750 ML with 8 people instead of one. It would be good in a 6 oz glass and I respect the craftsmanship but too much for me. Good Day. (496 characters)

Photo of tayner
3.6/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml green bottle with red wax.

Poured into a tulip glass. It pours a ruddy brown with slight pink overtones. With frothy head does not stick around long, just barely maintaining a tiny broken ring around the edges, little to no lacing.

Smell is a sweet cherry, like Ocean Spray Cran-Cherry juice. I can also smell the oak in the background. Smells very sweet and dessert-ish for sure.

Taste is of cherries. Fresh, ripe, sweet cherries. It is intensely sweet and hardly tastes of "beer" at all. The cherries overwhelm every other flavor except some wood/oak in the finish which manages to peak its head out for only a moment. I was hoping to find some bready belgian yeast flavors, or some maltiness, but nope, nothing but cherries.

This one has a relatively good mouthfeel for being such a sweet beer. It is verging on cloying, but doesnt quite get there. could use a tad more carbonation IMO.

Drinkability.. now, if you are someone who doesnt like beer... drink this, doesnt taste like beer at all. Would be perfect as a New Years Eve toast rather than champagne, or a wedding toast, some special occasion such as that. I could easily suck it down fast like my morning orange juice, but when i want a beer this just wont be a go to one. Give this one to your friends who dont like beer, they will like this one for sure. I will attempt to keep at least one bottle on hand, though, for occasions as above. Nicely made beer for what it is. (1,451 characters)

Photo of lurpy1
3.61/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sky high anticipation for this one. Have already had Raspberry Tart and loved it. Raspberry Tart is the #2 beer in its style. This is #1. No pressure, New Glarus, you just have to be out of this world to meet expectations. No pressure.\

Belgian Red tumbles out of the glass a cross between gold, orange and red. The head that appears is incongruous because without the head, it doesn't really look like a beer.

Wisconsin Belgian Red presented me with the weirdest "smells lousy, tastes great" conumdrum ever. Could be me, could be my many bad experiences with vile, vaguely Cherry flavored 70s vintage asthma and cold elixirs, but on first whiff, my brain registers "Robitussin", and I start to get queasy. Once I persuade myself to taste, it's really good. Not nearly as tart as I expected, but still really good. Cherry Jolly Ranchers come to mind.The aftertaste, though, brings the asthma elixir taste back into play though, and that knocks the taste score down.
Modestly carbonated,yet another New Glarus beer that doesn't taste like beer.

Overall verdict, this was a mixed bag for me due to the aroma and the flashbacks it caused. Still a good beer, but I definitely think Raspberry Tart's the better choice. (1,217 characters)

Photo of pwoods
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Atron67 for this trade at DLD.

750ml dark green bottle, red wax dipped, poured into a flute.

A: Literally pours blood red, opaque. Maybe 1 finger worth of lightly tinted head forms and holds to a fat skim for a bit. Some wisps of lacing.

S: Cherries. Yep, Cherries. Very juicy and syrupy sweet with a faint tartness in the back. That's about it. Cherries.

T/M: Haha, it's so weird. It's hardly like beer at all, yet it is. The cherry flavor is very very good. Not too tart, just enough to cut the juicy sweetness. A good drying effect midway and through to the end. The tartness comes out a bit more as the drying occurs but it never gets to the 'wine' stage. A little bit of a 'pit-y' flavor comes out a bit.. like from a cherry pit. Body is about medium with a syrupy feel to it. Carbonation is on the higher side. As it warms further, it becomes much drier and the tartness boosts way up.

D: The 750ml was way too much for me. It's very tasty, but in small doses. I'd say splitting a 750 with 3 other people would be perfect for my liking. Also, it /completely/ changes as it warms up. (1,103 characters)

Photo of ricke
3.64/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Ruby red with a small off-white head that settles into a ring of lacings.

S: Lots of sweet cherries dominate. The cherry aromas are rather candy-like (guess that's what happens when you put so much cherries in the brew). Hints of grass and something in the line of cookies. Not a complex smell, and not very interesting, but my god does it smell like cherries.

T: The taste is way better than the smell. Sweet cherries up front (the cherries are still candy-like but not as much as in the smell). Notes of sweet malts. A gentle but noticeable tart note develops and is really welcome since it levels the sweetness nicely and really balances everything. Notes of cookies and earth. The finish is nicely dry and light with grassy notes and chemical cherries. Not very complex, but still with enough hints of other things than cherries to make it interesting and most importantly tasty.

M: Somewhat sticky in the mouth with a nice dryness in the finish. Medium body.

D: A good beer. The taste is better than the smell, thankfully. Impressive flavors considering the low ABV. I could really see this one working well as a dessert or coupled with dessert. But it's too sweet to drink a lot of. (1,196 characters)

Photo of ttango
3.64/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sweet. Given that the word "Belgian" is used in the name its closest relations to beers from that country would be the lesser, sweetened lambics. Fans of Cantillion and Oude-styles will probably want to avoid this beer. Otherwise it stands-out in the overly sweet lambic genre with unusual roastiness and tones of molasses. (326 characters)

Photo of grynder33
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty ruby red color surprisingly long lasting head, cherry vanilla aroma and then it goes downhill. A taste so sour you could never serve it with food, if it had been a little thinner, sour cherry might work, but this had a thick texture. Maybe if you pour a very small amount, you could work with this. (305 characters)

Photo of mikey711
3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Got this as an extra some time ago from Youbrewidrink! Thanks

A: Murky red almost mahogany in color with a pinkish off white head that fluffs up on top. Not much in terms of lacing, and not much transparency. Head retention is perfect as a quarter inch layer sits throughout the time i drank it

S: The cherries are very prominent in the nose and it reminds me slightly of either a shirley temple or a cherry dr. pepper.

T: It also tastes slightly like a cherry doctor pepper or shirley temple. It also reminds me a bit of a cherry wine spritzer or a cocktail of some sort. Very fruity and unlike another beer i have had before

M: The body and richness of this is actually very good and enjoyable. No acidity and very mild.

D: I dont think I would be able to have more than a glass of this becaus it does get to be a little bit on the sweet side and i typically like my fruit beers to be sour (896 characters)

Photo of ngandhi
3.66/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks like blood. Like coagulating blood. Little to no head, but then this is wine, right . . . ?

Smells tart of sour cherries with some Christmas spice light in the background. No wafts of aroma as I had expected (as you might get from some lambics e.g.). No beer.

Served very chilled, the tartness is unbearable. My lips pucker, my cheeks flood into an oral void of sweetness. The taste is true -- this is definetly made with one pound of cherries (a whole friggin' pound?!) -- but I need to let it warm before I can drink more than two ounces of it. The flavors do come together soon after. The tartness is reduced and gives way to medium full body and a distinct "beeryness" (as opposed to its primary berryness). The beer quality is ungratifying, however, as it seems to be layered beneath the cherries instead of integrated.

The goal of this brew is clearly to give intense cherry flavor. And the means to this end are quite respectable: New Glarus uses locally grown cherries and devotes a full pound to every bottle. At $10 a bottle ( = $5 a glass) this stuff ain't cheap, but when you figure what a pound of cherries costs on its own, the price is foolishly reasonable.

If the goal is to simply give us cherries -- sour, almost cranberry-like -- then I wonder what sets this apart from something like apple cider. The little sugar from the cherries (key to their distinct taste) is devoured by the yeast leaving us with nothing but the bite. The malts give wonderful body to the beer, but offer nothing else. They act as adjuncts to the cherries for fermentation. This is juice first, beer later.

It's a world champion and I can see why. I don't believe in brews like this, however (perhaps it's the reinheitsgebot talking). Drier even than some lambics, I don't think this can be rightfully labeled "ale" for it's more influenced, in taste, by spontaneously fermented beers. And, amongst them, New Glarus Belgian Red stands out like a sore thumb. Stacked up against classic krieks like Cantillon, the first thing you notice about this is its lack of earth and must that characterizes the style. For an American intepretation, however (keeping in mind this stuff isn't fermented in rooms caked with yeast and mold), this is quite a feat. This brewery can do anything.

Relax, relax.
ng (2,314 characters)

Photo of paco1029384756
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby color with no head and some carbonation with a very thin ring of lacing.

Scent of tart maraschino cherries, and that's pretty much it, good stuff.

Taste of tart cherries with a hint of cinnamon, some sugars and a hint of banana in the finish.

Mouthfeel is clean and biting, similar to the Raspberry Tart.

I prefer the Raspberry Tart over this because this one is a little shallow to me. It is good though and I will likely purchase it again. (463 characters)

Wisconsin Belgian Red from New Glarus Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 937 ratings.