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R&D Sour Ale - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
R&D Sour AleR&D Sour Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

39 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 141
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 9.58%
Wants: 168
Gots: 30 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: 4DAloveofSTOUT on 08-11-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 141
Photo of russwbeck
3.2/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The bottle is very informative, I like seeing stuff like brew date and other information right on the lavel. The beer pours out of it without head. Brown in color with shades of yellow. Very clear and bubbly.

The aroma is tart, malty, bready, and sour. Overall I'd call it sweet and a little vinegary.

Moving to the taste, it's a bit bland. Sour and tart. Same malts and breadiness as the aroma. Really nothing more than a base American Wild Ale.

Light body, lower than average carbonation, decently drinkable.

It's sort of a base beer and nothing else. Nice research attempt, hope they improve on it!

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the brewery after a panic stricken white knuckled drive over hills and through woods in the desperate hopes that I could land a bottle if all the out-of-staters, Great Taste attenders, and rabid local fanboys hadn't gobbled up all the bottles. Whales, garbles, garble, garble, blah!

Into a taster glass, pours a straw yellow with orange highlights and a thin white skim. A fairly steady stream of bubbles rides the glass. Rumors of this beer being a brown were, errr...erroneous.

Smells of wet grain, straw, lemon drop, and rose water. Funk is present but subdued.

Lactic creaminess on the front end. Middle is light with a gentle prickle of lemon sourness. Heavy mineral and salt throughout. Finish is very salty and mildly soapy. After the initial soft sourness, there's not much oomph or substance lurking. The aftertaste consists of a long lingering sodium fade akin to gargled saltwater.

The body is light and the carbonation ample but not overly prickly.

Well, like most New Glarus beers there's a cleanness here that makes this accessible and approachable. That said, there's also a training wheels aspect here that leaves me wanting more. Those accustomed to bigger, more boisterous and buggy sours will likely leave disappointed. Those looking to share a nicely, albeit slightly underwhelmingly, constructed beer or and as an introduction to the style should be pleased. Maybe some more time will instigate the bugs?

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

'Fresh bottle' review for a baseline against which to compare my other bottle's future cellaring evolution.

Brewed : Dec '09 Bottled : March '12
4 3.5 3.5 4.5
Pours into my wine glass a pretty standard hazy amber color with about 20 seconds of a fizzy 0.5cm head that dissolves to nothing, no lacing is present. The body is thin, crisp, and light; carbonation is on the lower side of medium strength. In fact, it feels slightly less over-the-top soda-pop fizzy on the surface of my tongue than most American Wilds I've had to so far, and I'm actually impressed by that because it doesn't distract or hinder the flavor at all.

Speaking of which, fresh, this presents only a beginner's level of Brett yeast character. Flavor and aroma profile are very much like a freshly brewed Cran-bic with the cranberries removed and medium levels of oak tannins added... Medium amounts of apple cider vinegar comes in first and tapers off somewhat *too* smoothly and rapidly as the tannins rise to fill in the vacuum. With only the barest whisper of raunchy funk to frame it, it feels like the sketch of something that -could- become a work of art.

The stand-out feature that seems to accentuate the woody apple vinegar party is a nice whiff of floral perfume that pops out upon first cracking open the bottle, but fades out over time. The wood does provide a garnish-level spike of vanilla that appears as the glass warms up, but I wish I could have had both the vanilla and the florals at the same time.

Time will tell if cellaring further brings out either more funk or a more aggressive sourness, either of which would help to ink or color in this sketch of a masterpiece.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.81/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml brown glass bottle with appealing classy label and branded iconic pry-off pressure cap acquired in a trade with Duff27 and served into Cantillon stemware in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are extremely high given the brewery - for which I have tremendous respect. Batch 8.5 bbl. 5.4% ABV confirmed per the label. Brewed December 09. Bottled March 12. Reviewed as an American wild ale since it's an American-brewed self-identified "sour ale."

Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of off-white colour. Okay thickness and creaminess. Lacks frothiness. Head retention is above average - about 3 minutes. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Complexion could be softer. Consistency could be more even and full.

Body colour is a translucent semitransparent orange-copper of above average vibrance. Appears well-carbonated. Clean; there are no floating yeast particles.

Overall, it's a lively appearance for a sour and I find it quite attractive, but it's not unique or special. Certainly appealing. I'm excited to try it.

Sm: Tart fruits - peach primarily. Rich oak. Plenty of sourness is present, but it doesn't seem pucker-worthy. Clean lactobacillus is the main contributor, but there is a light bacterial character and some funky brettanomyces yeast notes. Crystal malt. Kisses of apple cider/apple juice. Floral hop character.

No alcohol or other off-notes are detectable. The sourness is noticeable but unintimidating, and acidity doesn't seem as high as usual for a beer in this style. It's an alive, inviting aroma of moderate strength. I'm really excited for the first sip.

Mf: Has a lovely dryness with some acidic twang. Perfect coarseness. Medium body. Slight overcarbonation. Good thickness. Refreshing. The coarse dry feel of the texture coupled with the refreshing clean sour flavour teases the drinker; I keep wanting to come back for the open even though the body drags a bit. Overall, it's got good presence on the palate.

Not gushed, hot, boozy, oily, astringent, or harsh. The texture helps coax out more depth of flavour at the expense of drinkability.

T: It's not as fruity as you might expect/hope for. There are touches of orchard apple/apple cider/apple juice as well as some orchard peach, but the fruity touches are quite buried. It's got a nice lacto-induced sourness to it and feels Belgian in character. Belgian pale malts, light sourdough malt character, neutral malts. It's a bit bacterial, and never feels too clean or clinical to be a truly wild/spontaneous beer like many American sours tend to. The oak is a bit more prominent than anticipated, and feels a bit chalky and neutral rather than toasty and/or rich.

Lemon. Juicy esters. Subtle farmhouse citrus character. Brettanomyces funkiness. Some earthiness. Hay. Straw. Reminds me a bit of a gueuze. Vinegar. Light acetic touches.

Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour. It's complex and subtle enough, but doesn't push the envelope. There isn't much nuance or intricacy here, but it's a well balanced beer and has a cohesive build. It's not gestalt, but it comes together nicely.

I'm really quite liking this one.

Dr: I'll easily kill this bottle alone and I'm very grateful to Duff27 for the opportunity to try this lovely brew. As good as it is, it can't compete with New Glarus' other superior sours. Absolutely worth trying, and very well executed for an American sour. It's extremely drinkable, and I'd recommend it to friends and trade partners any day of the week. More damn solid work from one of our best breweries.

I think the oak, lemon, and funkiness have really developed with age. They taste beautifully integrated in a way I can't imagine occurs fresh. As this warms, it just gets better and better. A great gueuze-esque American sour across the board.


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Photo of popery
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer is a deep amber color. Lots of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle and the liquid is fairly cloudy. Small yellow-white head, a bit fizzy. There’s a little but sweet and sour malt flavor but it’s mostly nice sour and funk. Smells like a pale sour with a little bit of oud bruin-ishness. Taste is lightly sweet and medium sour. Moderately dry. Some lemon, a little under ripe nectarine. A bit more of that oud bruin character. There’s a hint of legitimate lambic funky depth but it’s fleeting. Medium body. Nice sour. I prefer the peach by a hair but it’s better than the kriek and geuze for me.

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Little to no head. Hazed golden orange in color.

Flavor profile is very sour and acidic. Lemon zest and melons. Barnyard musk and some some cobweb flavors.

Mouthfeel is sour upfront, but it ends clean. Lighter bodied.

Overall, a really nice sour that is easy to drink. Very enjoyable!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Dan for this one. Nice funk and acidity in the nose. Quite funky and Belgian-esque. Very impressive. Earthy with light citrus in the flavor. Mild oak. Moderate acidity. Light. Dry. Thanks again to Dan for this one. I hadn't sought this one out, but was super happy to have it show up.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 9/13/12 Tasting Notes

500 ml bottle poured into CBS snifter. Served this slightly chilled.

A) Pours out a light acorn brown with a little haze. There was a good 2 fingers of froth, which slowly settled to a dusting. Not much lacing.

S) Distinctly yeasty and a bit funky. There's some spice to this, combined with a nice earthy/oaky aroma. A bit of flower petal. You could pick up the sourness.

T) Wild and funky. Nicely spiced, mild pepper on the backend. This is has a pleasant woody/earthy/grassy flavor that mingles with the sour, creating a mouth watering experience.

M) Medium body with a pretty zesty amount of carbonation. The carbonation combined with the sourness created in this brew provide a pleasurable mouthfeel. As indicated above, my mouth was watering like crazy after each sip, which really made me want that next sip all the more. I think I'm beginning to understand the allure of this style.

O) Just happened to be at New Glarus for this release, and I must say I'm glad I scooped up two bottles. I am admittedly not someone with much sour experience, but this brew really grew on me with each passing sip. It's not the type of beer I could see myself drinking everyday, or after mowing the lawn, but it is the type of beer I could see myself having a total craving for under certain circumstances. Highly enjoyable... If you can get a bottle, give this a try. Glad to recommend...

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Photo of tewaris
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Jason, thanks! From the recent release coinciding with Great Taste.

Clear amber with ample effervescence. Aroma is funky, musty, earthy with hints of balsamic. Tastes somewhat sour, oak-y and quite clean. Feels light and spritzy and finishes dry. I think they hit it with this one, I liked it very much!

4, 4.5, 4, 4, 4

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy Orange. Looks okay but not stellar. Smells awesome. Funky. Tart. Very interesting nose. Tastes sour but not overly acidic. Overall good mouthfeel. An interesting and very solid sour. A solid showing from new glarus and one I would love to have again

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Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Dan, thanks Dan. Glad you could make it down to DC for the tasting. Served in a snifter. Beer is sort of brown / amber with a haze, wispy white head, small bubbles, some lacing, moderate retention. Looks fine.

Aroma is gueuze holy holy gueuze, tart, oaky, brett, harsh, strong, bright. Smells great.

Beer is thin in body and has a tart finish, a really nice beer overall, bretty / oak character, sour throughout, I'd definitely have this one again, best sour to date from this brewery.

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Photo of thebigredone
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to lem4prez for hooking me up with this!

Smell is a combination of funk/sweet tarts/oak. Nice, but not extraordinary.

Taste is lemony/funky/a bit oaky with a nice sour kick at the end. Very tasty, and frankly a bit more puckering than I was expecting, which is great.

Overall, this is a very nice sour. Probably more of what some people call an entry level sour, but it's still quire good. After tasting this, I am really looking forward to trying everything that comes out of NG's new lambic cellar!

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Photo of ncketchum
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to RoamingGnome for this bottle!

Served chilled in a Duvel tulip

A - pours a murky light brown-yellow, loads of carbonation, yellow-white head, about 3 fingers worth

S - wow, very intense sour, tangy citrus, a little funky, the oak creeps in in the end

T - again, very sour lemon/grapefruit up front, then a solid amount of bitterness overtakes the palate.

M - Thin, a bit dry, this would be quite refreshing on a hot summer day, good amount of carbonation

O - a different beast than Enigma that I recently got hold of, more intense in all aspects, not as sweet. Probably the most sour of the sours I've ever tasted in my short sour-history. Very solid, really glad I got a chance to sample this one. Definitely recommend.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle poured into a tulip.

(A)- Pours a lightly hazed orange hue. Small white froth and bubbles.

(S)- A huge nose of funky cheese, dry hay, and subtle lactic oak.

(T)- Oaky, with the subtle lactic bits. Not as funky as the smell was, but more of the oak shines through. Not as sour as expected, but its very subtle at this point.

(M)- A good carbonation level. A nice quick sharpness that is signs of a present acidity that grows into a softer oaky funk.

(O)- I love New Glarus' experimentation beers and this is no different. Time might help this develop more, but it really showcases what oak and funk can do together well. I look forward to trying this again in a year or so.

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Photo of Etan
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from the recent release graciously shared by Ravot. Thanks!

A: Murky orange body, small white head.

S: Heavy wheat and lactic notes. Sweet berries and horsey brett funk come out as the beer warms.

T: Moderate lactic tartness and plenty of oaky funk. Horseblanket, plum skin and green apple, drying oak, more brett notes.

M: Light with moderate carbonation.

O: Really good, very funky and balanced. Reminds me of some of the better Belgians.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

R&D label reads:

Spontaneously fermented in oak barrels for over two years.

final fermentation in the bottle.

Brettanomyces funk sour and highly carbonated!

Open carefully and enjoy.


500ml bottle poured into tulip glass.

review #475

Appearance: Brilliant and clear golden straw bodied beer. 2 fingers of white head that drops to a small cap. spotty lacing.

Smell: oaky, earthy, hay & straw, with mild funk to it. You get some hints of citrus notes mostly lemon.

Taste: The beer starts out with moderately sour lemons and hay notes. A decent of bretty funk and mustiness. Oak barrel and earthy notes compliement each other. Finishes with a touch of vinegar, a lactic sour note, and lemons.

Mouthfeel: this beer drinks on the lighter end of a moderate body. The beer has carbonation thats on the high end of moderate. This beer has a really delicate mouthfeel to it. The beer is very drinkable; its very easy to drink the 500ml bottle yourself.

Overall: This sour is really well balanced with nice complexity. Its a very brett forward sour!

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Photo of maximum12
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a couple bottles at New Glarus in August during our raid over the border to the Great Taste of the Midwest. Always a pleasure. Both events. 500ML bottle split with my wife.

Leave an ounce or so in the bottle since it's gloppy & foosty. The resulting pour is a partly sunny orange that causes no joint pain. Nose is nicely sour without tearing out any graying nose hairs, plus a little apple, clean rain earth, straw. Nice. Very nice.

R&D Sour Ale is my kind of sour, leaving all my enamel on my teeth. Nicely tart, almost sour, with a kick of dry that sucks my saliva like water from a well. Lovely citrus. For a sour this is easy to drink.

Simple. Direct. Tasty. This isn't one of those depth-of-field beers, more of a sour for those who don't like gullet-ripping sours (like me). Delicious. A- from my wife, who never reached that level for a sour. Excellent. Another win from New Glarus.

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Photo of Treebs
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle (I think?) served in a Deschutes snifter. I think dvelcich shared this one. Thanks Dan!

A: Pours a hazy apricot color with a pure white head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thin cap that leaves some sticky splotches of lace.

S: Malty sweetness, some light berry and tart stone fruit. Grassy with some lactic lemon and a little vanilla.

T: Oaky with some vanilla sweetness. Grassy with some slight lemon character. Tart stone fruit with a little bit wet hay funk. Light mineral quality to it as well.

M: Light bodied, spritzy carbonation and a dry finish. Really drinkable.

O: Really delicious. Very gueuze-ish. Definitely the best representation of the style this side of the Atlantic.

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Photo of emerge077
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark auburn orange color, fluffy head on top that slowly recedes and eventually breaks across the surface. Woody wet oak and minerals in the aroma, tart citric acid, funky signature wild yeast reminiscent of enigma, cranbic, and r&d gueuze. As it warms there's some wet hay and trace wet wood elements that emerge.

Sour and puckering in the first sips, citric lemony fruity notes, maybe some grapefruit and cherry skins to a lesser extent. Past the sharp sourness, there's a creamy sorbet middle and traces of Brett yeast in the dry oaky aftertaste. The sourness is very clean and there's some complex wild yeast character. Light to medium bodied, bone dry and quenching, zero sweetness, with a certain authenticity to it's farmhouse character. Certainly bodes well for their lambic program...

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Photo of Duff27
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky Dark golden with a short white head. Collar left, minimal lacing.

Tarty aroma in the same vein of cranbic/apple ale

Woo! Thats a ride. "vinegary/lemon hints". Oak plays a huge role. I'd give it an 7.5 on the Duff27 sour scale.

Medium mouthfeel, well carbonated that works wonders.

A serious sipping sour says me. One of the best Wild Ale I've ever had, simply great. Thanks for sharing TATURBO!

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Photo of seeswo
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a light brownish orange with a sizable head. The nose is oaky, tart and funky. Smells fantastic. Tart, lemony/citric acidity are the major flavors with some complexity from the oak and an undefinable funkiness. Finishes nice and dry. The only downside is that this beer is light enough to occasionally come off a touch watery. I think there is a lot of room for growth in this beer and i'll be hanging on to several to see how they do over time. I've recently had a lot of world class international gueuze, and I am really surprised at what they have been able to do here in comparison. If you compare it to other American products, this is easily one of the best. Nice work NG!

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy orange, peach color with a thin white head.

S - Sour with wet oak, tart cherries, grapes, wet hay and some funky yeast notes.

T - Fairly sour with grapes and grape skins, oak, lemon, wet hay. For how sour it appears at first it is very easy to drink.

M - Medium body with good carbonation and a very dry finish.

D - Very well done. Funky and easy to drink all in one.

Thanks to emerge for this one.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to djcorrao for the bottle. Split with angrybabboon.

Appearance: Slightly hazed orange. Small bright-white head. Tiny wisp of a cap. Collar is tiny with tight bubbles. No lacing to speak of. Solid carbonation.

Smell: Crazy tart with some.citric sour backing. White wine, lemon zest and juice. Crazy tart. Brett funkiness. Solid layer of oak over the top. Deeply complex with some lactic sourness. Powdery yeast with some hay and grass. Flowers. So very sour and oaky.

Taste: Lemon, oak, zest, and tons of brett funk. Some hay, grass, and powdery yeast. Floral and deeply sour. Tart lactic bite on the finish. Loaded with oak. Nice layered complexity. Straight up white wine pushed so far beyond normal fermentation. Grape and touches of granny smith apple. Earthy and damp.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and light with a strong carbonation. Bone dry on the sip, but finishes less so.

Overall: Tony Stark must have been involved in the development of this magic substance.

New Glarus can do no wrong when it comes to sour and barrels. Crazy clean. So many sour and funk characteristics. I need to learn magic so I can keep this flowing for ever and ever.

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Photo of crossovert
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle.

Opens with a hiss and some carbonation jumps up towards the cap. A nice sour pucker is release in the smell. The beer is a hazy peach and has a fizzy head that quickly dissipates.

The smell is quite nice. It is initially pretty sour but after a few whiffs more scents come out. Cherries, vinegar, oak, grapes, some malt sweetness, and a very nice but not over the top but of cheesy funk.

The flavor is also great. Medium sourness that doesn't linger. Instead oak and vanilla dominate the finish. Up front it is acidic and sour with vinegar, sour apples, and lemons. Mid palate is malty and fruity. The funk isn't as prevalent in the flavor. It is mostly just a well-balance sour. The mouthfeel is pretty carbonated and it ends up pretty dry.

New Glarus strikes again.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle (forgot the size), poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a murky golden color, thin white head that recedes to a collar.

S- The aroma is great, there's a huge lactic tartness and musty funk, stone fruit and oak.

T- Taste follows the aroma with a potent lactic acidity, wet oak, stone fruit, lemon, and a nice woody funkiness.

M- Medium-bodied, has a smooth feel, nice carbonation, dry finish.

O- A very good American sour. I'm actually not a fan of a lot of New Glarus' sour/fruit beers, which are a bit too sweet for me, but this really hits it right on the head with a very prominent tartness and just the right amount of wood, funk and fruity flavors to round everything out. Delicious stuff.

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R&D Sour Ale from New Glarus Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.