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Cuvee De Castleton | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
96
world-class
225 Reviews
Cuvee De CastletonCuvee De Castleton
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States | website

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This is a beer that will make you rethink your definition of beer. It doesn’t taste like any beer you’ve ever had, yet it doesn’t taste like anything else either. Pushing the limits of brewing is what makes this job so much fun. Malted barley, wild yeast, hand picked Muscat Grapes, and French oak wine barrels are just a few of the things that wen into crafting this beer. Breathe deep, take a long sip, and enjoy the creation in your hand.

Added by Billolick on 05-12-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
225
Ratings:
534
Avg:
4.33
pDev:
8.78%
 
 
Wants:
1,006
Gots:
104
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 225 | Ratings: 534
Photo of ClavisAurea
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 vintage served cold in a teku

Appearance: bright and clear gold with no head at all. Very low carbonation. Bottle presentation is very nice however the cage that secured the cork fell apart after only 1/2 a turn on opening. I've found this true with other CL sours. Possibly a QA issue with packaging or a product defect.

Nose: Brett funk, sweet grape juice, vinous, very complex, strong Barrel character

Taste: sharp acid here. Quite sour initially. The barrel character is strong with a ton of tannins. This drinks like a full bodied white wine with very little sweetness. The "beer" qualities are very understated. There is a significant astringency to the beer as well. Not a bad thing per say and it does add complexity, just wasn't expecting it. The wine barrel and vinious characters are the centerpiece here. Extremely low carbonation. Very nice sour.

Overall: this one shocked me. It completely straddles the line between beer and wine. I can decide if Scott Vaccaro is a mad genius or just crazy. Either way this was a delightful beer.

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Photo of DirtyDawg10
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a slightly hazy golden yellow color with almost no head. The smell is sour and fermented fruit. It says it's aged in oak but I don't pick any up in the aroma. The taste hits you with that sour up front but not a super sour beer. It is very wine like in flavor and is very complex. I get a slight touch of the oak in the flavor but not overpowering. Reminds me of a dry carbonated Chardonnay with a hint of sour. Very nice sour for sure!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at ButaPub in Rochester, NY.

This pours a pale yellow color, lots of bubbles, with a very small essentially non-existent head, and a no lacing. Doesn't look all that tasty, but the appearance is not super important.

Smells like grape skin, lactic acid, lemons, green apple cider, and some mild oak.

This is definitely an assertively sour beer, probably about a 7/10. It's got a lemony acidity, with a feeling of almost green apple cider, in it's fruity sourness. There's definitely some grapes here, but they're light and well-integrated, and don't stand out. There's some definite oak, but it's of the damp "wet" variety of wood.

This is crisp and clean in the mouthfeel, though it's quite sour. The sourness does not diminish from the drinkability.

This is most excellent, and I'm really glad Captain Lawrence made another batch of it.

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Photo of CHickman
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

On tap at the Lark, pours hazy gold color with zero head and zero lacing.

Smells like apple cider, funky yeast, light pepper, white wine, white grapes, sweet fruit, light earthy barnyard and some sugary sweetness. Leafy and earthy notes mix with funk and some tart grape must, which all work well together.

Tastes sour and tart up front with strong grapes and white wine combined with oaky tannins like a fine wine. Earthy with barnyard funk, pepper, mild coriander, lemon zest, sour green apple, apple cider, yeast which has that light brett funky active feel. Complex and fruity with a sour bite that is flavorful and tart, but has a lot different personalities that all give really nice flavors which let the grains come through and compliment the sour grapes and sweetness.

Mouthfeel is zesty yet sour and easy to drink; easier to drink than it should be at 9% ABV, very enjoyable, this was a really tasty wild ale. A fun beer to drink which hides the alcohol completely and differs slightly with each sip, letting the fruity sweetness and live yeast surprise you with each sip. I'd love to have it again and definitely recommend it.

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 batch from bottle...
golden hue, meringue-like foamy head....
smell od chardonnay, lemon, and vanilla...
taste is tart, with nice grape, citrus and mild spice.. sour but not overly so....
very nice sour with great balance and some interesting flavors...
delicious!

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Photo of costanzo_mike
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a golden/light orange color with a thin white head that dissipates and lingers slightly. Smell reminds me of white wine. Tart taste but not overwhelming, the grapes come through nicely with a slight sweetness. Carbonated, bubbly feel which I enjoy with this style. Very nice beer

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Note: 2013 Vintage

A: Pours a hazy medium yellow in color with light amounts of active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and faint honey orange highlights. The beer has a half finger tall fizzy foamy white head that reduces to a large patch of mottled very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Minimal amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of sourness with a light amount of brett-like funkiness. Lighter aromas of light fruits (apricot, white grape, and pear). Hints of lemon citrus.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of grainy malts which is quickly overtaken by the strong flavors of tartness/sourness. There a light to moderate flavors of light fruits (apricot, white grape, and pear) and a moderate amount of brett-like funkiness. Lingering sourness through the finish.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Moderate to strong amounts of acidic prickliness.

O: Very sour but very interesting with a lot of complexity. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of metter98
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is hazy yellow in color. It poured with a quarter finger high white head.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of sourness are present in the nose along with a bit of funk.
T: As one would expect from the smell, the beer is very sour has has notes of vinegar and hints of green grapes, apples, and lemon citrus.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and very tart on the palate with just about a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is so sour that it will make your mouth pucker, but it has an interesting complexity of fruity flavors.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of lupercmda
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light Golden color with about a 1/2 inch small bubble head. Smells like a white wine with the oakiness coming thru. Nice tart sour taste up front with the oaky barrel taste on the finish. Medium mouth feel for this type of beer. Overall very good beer.

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Photo of Keananmichael5
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

One of the most balanced sours I have ever had. This is so drinkable and refreshing! Usually sours are not as smooth as this which makes it unique in my opinion

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Photo of zeledonia
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Batch 5. Tasted 1 May 2015.

Pours a hazy straw yellow. Little head, but that's expected for a sour.

Smell is a super clean, rich lemony sour, with a white wine backing. Reminds me of the lemon sour candies, but without the sugar. Yum.

Taste is much like the smell, but a little empty. The flavors don't quite follow through on the promise. They're good, but lacking the complexity of truly great sours.

Feel is light, a touch on the flat side, but with bizzy (busy-fizzy) carbonation. Quite good.

A nice, smooth, clean sour. Would like more depth in the taste. But very good all around.

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Photo of bitterbeerguy
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

What a wonderful AWA- amazing how the grape has held up.

Aroma is kind of soft- light grape and wine aromas, slightly tart, and hints of violet, cherry, and vanilla

Taste is pure tart and grape. Just lovely. Amazing how much the flavor has held up. Oak barrel character is perfectly balanced with the fruit and tart components.

Great beer. Find it. Enjoy it.

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Photo of cbutova
4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks out to Emma for sharing this a little while back. Forgot to enter my notes from the notebook.

Batch 4, shared with good friends.

A- Small snifter pour from the 500ml bottle. Hazy golden bodied with just a small ring of white foam that leaves some nice legs. No true lace as it looks like wine after some time.

S- Super pungent funky lactic bouquet. Lemons and white sour grapes are massive, some cheesy Brett funk and barnyard is strong.

T- Mellows out a bit in a way with some balanced yeasty apple and pear flavors, lactic acid flavor is dominant with lemons and green apple, intense tart fruits. Funky vinous oak seems to round it out but candy sour goodness and some coriander spice.

MF- Dry as all hell with a lighter end Gueuze consistency and body. Silky foamy carbonation at a high end level accentuates the sour tartness that lingers on the palate.

Wow, one of the sourest beers I can think of with some good good funk and nice barnyard. Apple skin, sour grape fruity feel goes a long way with the bugs present.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.68/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

very cool blonde sour from captain lawrence. this brew pours a very pale almost clear shade of yellow with the faintest purple tint from the grapes, nearly imperceptible, not quite as much head as i would like. fruity aromatic with some strong acidic notes. oaky and sour for sure, but very interesting from a yeast standpoint, lots of brett has dried this right out. some very light malt and straw cereal properties, and the grapes are only subtle, contributing more of a tannic vibe than real fruit flavor. insanely light body and well enough carbonated, this is rather easy drinking as sours go, a very delicately put together and well balanced brew. would be curious to try some with a little age on it.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12.7 oz bottle, batch 5, poured into a mini tulip glass.

A- Pours a slightly hazy golden color, produces a wispy white head, leaves little lacing.

S- Lemony tartness, musty barnyard funkiness, some apple and white grape, oak. As it warms a really fantastic, floral, perfumey spice aroma comes out and merges with the barnyard funkiness in a really great way. The aroma is really incredible.

T- Starts out with apple and white grape before a nice amount of acidity kicks in, a decent amount of lemon, balanced acidity (not leaning too heavily towards acetic like a lot of American sours do). Nice barnyard funkiness, as well as oak, dry vinous flavors and a bit of vanilla. As with the aroma, very complex and delicious.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth and dry, a bit of alcohol warmth on the finish, but really not too bad at all for it's strength.

O- An absolutely incredible beer, much better than I was expecting. The barrel, funkiness, fruitiness and yeast all come together really, really well. I know it's not exactly going for a gueuze kind of thing, but this comes closer to gueuze and lambic in terms of complexity and flavor than any other American sour I've had, which is about the highest praise I think I can give it. I mean damn.

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Photo of jegross2
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing the Cuvee de Castleton from Captain Lawrence Brewing Company out of Elmsford, New York.

Score: 98

Batch 4 (summer 2010 vintage). Served in a hard plastic wine glass and enjoyed on 05/18/13. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Pours an orange-golden color with minimal bubbly head off the pour. Virtually no head or lacing. Nothing special in appearance. 3.25/5

Smell: Tart lemon zest, peach, white grape, citrus juice, vinegar, and brett. Absolutely phenomenal sour-apparent nose. 4.75/5

Taste: Just as tart as the nose promised! A divine medley of sour peach, white grapiness, brett, vinegar. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lightly carbonated. Quite tart, very dry finish. Love the pucker here! 5/5

Overall: A truly amazing American sour. This is one of the more pucker-inducing beers I have had to date. I wish I had more bottles of this!

Cost: $15 for a 500 ml bottle.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This poured out as a nice clear golden color with a fizzy white head on top. The retention comes and goes rather quickly. The lacing is minimal here. The smell of the beer is definitely funky, lots of tart grape aroma on the nose. The taste of the beer gives off a tart white wine-like flavor, there is quite a bit of sourness on this one also. The mouthfeel is light bodied and heavily carbonated with a dry tart finish. Overall I found the pucker factor on this one to be quite high, it really was a solid brew. Glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of CharlatanSin
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Batch 4, so I've been storing this one for a couple of years.

A: Brilliant golden color, with a small white head the dissolves into a ring. Wish there was a little retention. Effervescent. A little haze from the yeast.

S: Sweet and tart fruity smell, and with a strong brett kick. It's almost like a white wine mixed with brett, which now that I think about it is the point, I suppose.

T/M: Tart and funky. Lactic. Funky. Woody. Distinct grape flavor -- even more like white wine than I remember it being a couple of years ago. A little grainy on the finish, with a mild earthy bitterness. Mouthfeel is light and dry with low-ish carbonation.

O: Sad to finish off my last CdC, but beer is made for drinking, no? Excellent.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From notes. Batch 2, 3, 4, and 5 tasted side by side. Batch 2 seemed much different than the other two and is worth scoring separately. The overall score is the score of the newer recipe.

Batch 2:
4/4.5/4.75/4/4.25
Batch 3, 4, 5:
4/4/4/4/3.75

Tangerine peach color, transparent with a bit of haze. Lighter, more transparent edges. A small cap fades to a ring fairly quickly.

The aroma is fairly tart, white grape, lemon zest, and peach. Acidic and some musty funk.

The flavor is quite sour, although not quite as extreme as the batch 2. Just a touch of sweetness from the malt, then the white grape comes through a bit. Peach, a bit of tangerine, and then some lemon zest in an escalating sour flavor.

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Photo of Treebs
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle served in a Half Acre snifter. Batch #5. Big thanks to cosmicevan for the share.

A: Pours a hazy lemon color with a light orange body. A thin white head forms on the pour and recedes quickly to a thin ring. Some splotches of lace are left behind.

S: Fruity with a little acetone. Sour lemons, a little lactic with some white grape sweetness and tartness.

T: Lactic sourness, some cheek puckering dryness. Oaky finish with some lemon grass and white grape.

M: Light bodied. Puckering tartness with a dry, mildly acitic finish. Medium carbonation

O: Very nice beer. Definitely enjoyed the subtleties of this and the mouthfeel was spot on.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.34/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Batch 5. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Clear golden with almost no head. Looks pretty flat.

Smell - Slightly fruity. Lemon comes to mind. Mostly vinegar here, though. Not intense, but dominant. Touch of funk and some peaches.

Taste - Quite sour. Lemon fruit flavors. Light vinegary flavors, at least compared to the nose. Clean, but intensely acetic. Too much for my taste. Bready in the finish also.

Mouthfeel - Puckering. Clean sour. Low carbonation.

Overall - I see why everyone loves this. It's incredibly sour, with some nice fruity notes. I just don't dig the acetic sourness, especially in a pale sour.

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Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cuvee De Castleton pours a starbright yellow-gold that, indeed, looks something special. It struts the bling. Despite this obvious radiance, however, its ash blond complexion is hopelessly distorted (though I suppose technically still clear). Whatever head it might have once procured is now long gone, likely an unintended consequence of the barrel aging.

Though the bouquet is a relatively inward one for the style, muscat grapes are apparent from the start. I also wouldn't be surprised to learn the oak barrels in which it's aged at some point contained Chardonnay; the wood purrs like a cat asking to be stroked and there's also a touch of must. Smells like a wine cellar. It has the tartness (though not exactly the flavour) of a Granny Smith apple and a few other cider-like qualities.

Malty flavours are now a distant murmur, long since infected by the acidic tartness of wild yeasts and an almost savory oak wood taste. Its exquisite inner perfume is simultaneously juicy and off-dry and features nuances of Limoncello, yellow plum, and wafting florals. The bubbles are less than vibrant, leaving the acidity to settle on the palate like a heavy net (practically burning a small hole in the back of the throat in the process).

Cuvee de Castleton may taste unusual to most beer drinkers, but if you're a sparkling or white wine drinker this will all seem very familiar: steely, bubbly, elegant with apple and citrus acidity - this is definitely suited to a champagne flute (and given the rarity and price, champagne-worthy occasions). Were it not for those unfortunate facts, it would be more than advisable to bring to a party; a real conversation starter.

Batch #5 was released just over a year ago but I wouldn't allow it much more time to mature; it certainly doesn't taste young. The acidity is already powerful enough to make things feel a bit disjointed and its energy is far from outstanding. Despite impressing some sensation of weightlessness, the finish isn't exactly overly persistent either. Were it actual bubbly, it'd be the Borat of the champagne world.

So-called "wild ale" is a style where anything is possible, good or bad - surviving extended barrel aging and the onslaught of savage yeasts and bacterium aren’t easy conditions for a beer, but it’s a challenge that builds complexity and character. Despite the latter being added free of service, Cuvee de Castleton lacks the real drive and beautiful detail that describes the best beers, 'wild' or not so wild. Wish I could say better things...

 2,537 characters

Photo of starrdogg
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Michael for sharing this one. Batch 5.

Beer pours a clear light yellow without much head - it's really not much to look at. The smell here is excellent - white wine, oak and lactic sourness really come together nicely to make a mouthwatering aroma. The flavor too is fantastic, it's incredibly vinous and pretty sour with a nice grape aspect to it to go along with a little bit of oak. You can definitely see how the white wine factored in here, as it's one of the more wine-forward beers I've had. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied but coats the mouth very nicely. Overall, this is a great beer and a must try for wine lovers who also happen to enjoy sour beers. It's what I hoped Russian River Temptation would be.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 2 received in trade from mcallister, thanks for the opportunity.
Pours a crystal clear deep golden color with a huge white head that dissipates like the head on a diet soda. I can smell the funk as soon as I pop the cap on this one. Lemony tartness mixed with a sour grape fruitiness along with a mild bit of sweet candy malts and a solid hit of barnyard funkiness make up the aroma. The flavor is extreme lemony citric tartness. The grape flavor comes through a little along with a hint of sweet candy like malts and barnyard funk, but this one is all about the tart. Medium body with a spirited level of carbonation and a tart tongue piercing mouthfeel. Nice mouth puckering wild ale.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

consumed on 7/6, while I was "on Hiatus." picked up at the brewery a while back. enjoyed from my captain lawrence tulip.
Batch 5

a - brew poured a mostly opaque orange with lively carbonation. at first there was a big fizzy head, but it fizzled away in moments, yet i could still see a geyser of champagne like bubbling at the center of the surface of the beer.

s - smell is dynamite. sour tarts, white wine, green grapes. some brett sweetness.

t - taste is spot on. super sour green grapes. lemons and fruit drenched in white wine. good sourness without being off putting. the oak is a bit present in the finish. the brett shows in some sweetness, the funk can be found as the sourness rolls off your tongue.

m - tart, prickly carbonation. some spiciness in the finish.

o - overall, super refreshing. really well made sour. captain lawrence is no joke when it comes to sour beers and castleton is a fine example.

bottle

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Cuvee De Castleton from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 225 ratings.
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