Cuvee De Castleton | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

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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:
536
Avg:
4.33
pDev:
13.63%
 
 
Wants:
1,003
Gots:
105
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 225 | Ratings: 536
Photo of youbrewidrink
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Nice straw color with a quick to disappear white head.

The aroma was of granny smith apples and hay.

The taste first jumped out as tart apples and peaches and mellowed down to ripe pears and green grapes.The slightly sour flavor made this a perfect beer for a hot summer afternoon.

This beer was almost too drinkable, I overheard other who don't normally drink sours loving this one.

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Photo of hayesez
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this in an "in-person" at this year's Dark Lord Day. Thanks to deliriumfest for road-tripping it down from Minnesota! Split with my wife...unfortunately, there just isn't enough for both of us! We tend to have semi-different tastes in the types of sours we enjoy, but this is one that we both really like. When I first popped the cap off of this one, I thought I was going to have a gusher. However, the carbonation just kept forcing tons of bubbles to the top of the beer without the foam every coming out. We actually stared at what was happening for quite some time. Large chunks of sediment from the bottom of the bottle kept getting rushed up the center of the bottle to the surface and then "spilling" back down the inside of the bottle back to the bottom - looked remarkably like a volcano. We watched for a few minutes before pouring.

You could have told me that I was pouring white wine into my Portsmouth tulip and I probably would have believed you. Even before the pour was finished the wine-like white grape smell hit us. Color is a sparkling light clear gold with a tiny white head that vanishes fairly quickly. There is no lacing left on the glass. Nothing spectacular, but a bit of props for the science-experiment in the bottle!

As noted, wine is definitely noticeable on the nose. A deep sniff gives an intense white grape alcohol that is quite impressive. Musty brett is also prominent, implying barnyard, especially during a full smell.

I was a bit surprised by the very, very sweet taste that starts this drink. Right as the beer hits my lips, I'm hit with an overly-sweet wine. It really doesn't last long at all, but is obviously there before yielding to a more tart white-grape taste. A bit of tart apple and pear are also involved, as well as a touch of lemon. Very different than other sours we have had...and very enjoyable. Light-bodied and very easy to drink, we were disappointed that we only had 375 ml to split.

I hear rumors that this tastes even better after being aged for a bit. We'll definitely cellar a couple and bust them out later. Overall, this is one excellent beer. Cheers!

Consumed: 5/17/2010

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Photo of slaintemhor
3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got to try a bottle of this thanks to a friend who does beer trades. The colour was a light straw with no head at all. The aroma was filled with tangy citrus notes and hints of yeast. On the palate, there was a bitter feel initially, then plenty of tanginess and some light citrus as well.

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Photo of abecall98
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got a couple of these bottles in a trade.

A - pours a bright pale yellow. Very nice head white and sticky. The beer looks inviting.

S - oh man, funk. Smells like rotted lemons, but in a good way. Lemony too.

T - funky. Brett comes through, tastes like lemon peel inside of a locker room. It's very tart from the middle of the taste. Dryness is at the end with more lemon peel.

M - it's perfectly carbonated. It's creamy and dry at the same time. Love it.

D - for a sour, it's not over powering or offputting. The abv is well hidden and the tanginess keeps you at bay with more desire.

O - I like this sour. Glad I have another bottle.

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Photo of dougofthefuture
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 4

A. Pours a very clear yellow-orange. Just a few shades darker than many white wines. A fizzy head on a hard pour quickly dissipates, but plenty of carbonation remains present.

S. This is off the charts - oak, balanced funk, plenty of sweet white wine-like grape character. Very bright. Very balanced.

T&M. The first sip is surprisingly tart. The brett has dried out this beer quite a lot. As I adjust to the sourness, I can slowly start to pick out more flavors - oak first, then the sweet grapes from the nose. Plenty of alcohol burn on the finish (I expect this will mellow with age). Just a bit of lingering funk. The body is really nice here - approaching a dry champagne spritziness.

D. This is a sipper, but the more I sip, the more it opens up. I'm really liking this, but I think I'll like it even more with age. I'll be seeking these out, and then trying to forget about them.

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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 srroos
3.65/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375mL bottle (Batch 3) into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a hazy, straw yellow with a small off white head. Quickly fades into a thin ring.

S: Slightly funky with some grassy hops.

T: Mildly tart, sour apples, and a slightly bitter finish.

MF: Light and moderately carbonated. Very smooth.

D: Light and easy drinking. Not as strong as many sours.

Very tasty, but not nearly as good as I might have expected with all the hype. Tasted much better once the yeast was poured into the glass.

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Photo of kevinv
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I finally decided to open this. Received this one in a trade sometime last winter from dvelcich - Thanks, Dan!

Batch 4 vintage. Poured into my Captain Lawrence tulip.

A - Pours a bright, hazy golden. About a quarter finger of fizzy white head which quickly fades to a thin rim around the glass. No lacing noted.

S - Very pleasant! The use of muscat grapes is definitely present in the smell. Notes of a sweet white wine. Slightly acidic and funky.

T - Large amounts of white grapes. Chardonnay-like notes. Lightly fruity - lemons and apples. This is very approachable sour as it's only slightly funky and just the right amount of pucker. Spicy oak in the finish. Truly exceptional.

M - Very crisp and sharp. Medium mouthfeel with a medium carbonation. Dry wine like finish.

D - Remarkable drinkability. Like I said before, this is a very approachable sour for those getting interested in the style. Very well rounded and well done. Definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of gregc
4.97/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 1...bottle

Poured into a wine glass...nice hazy yellow color with a nice foamy white head.

Aroma is amazing, there is so much going on...lemons, white grapes, sour apples, mild brett barnyard, oak and vanilla. Its very intense and the smell is extremely sour.

Flavor is very sour, had batch 2 and it was not as intense yet. I think it still needs some time to catch up to this one. Nice flavors of sour grapes, lemon zest, oak. Its very tart, but very drinkable at the same time. The mouth feel is nicely carbonated and smooth. I could drink this all night, but my stash of these bottles is dwindling.

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Photo of kfsv034
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this bottle in a trade from obrienj thanks man.

A - Pours a straw yellow with no head at all, looks like white wine.

S - tart white grapes, tart apples, some grassy lemon zest

T - Very tart, grape skins, tart apples, a mild lemon/peppery flavor, very little oak and some white wine like characteristics.

M - Medium bodied

D - at 8% its pretty easy going i could drink a few from the alcohol standpoint but the sourness might limit me to one or two

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

Bottle shared from rpstevens- hats off, it's great!
Looks a hazy golden yellow with a thin ring head.

Smell is a smooth chardonnaapple creamy butter scent with a pleasant shadow of bad breath in the back ground- weird I know.

Taste and mouth feel are also very smooth and inviteing. White wine characteristics, soft oak, and a mild sour dry finish. Has a sweetness and gentle bubble as it rolls over the tongue.

Real, real tasty beer- hope to try this one again

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Photo of mrkrispy
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 2

Pours a very cloudy, chunky blond. Light frothy head that lingered around a bit.

Shocking aroma of white grape juice, unexpected since I hadn't read the bottle yet. Some Brett stank, apple notes?

Fantastic tasting beer. Sour, tart, noticeable grape flavors, citrus, lemon, hint of clove? Well carbontated, fine bubbles almost like champagne. Slight banana notes. Slightly puckering tartness that sticks around. Beer opens up well and gets better as the glass goes down. Complex, layered, dull sweetness, great sourness. What a great beer!

Bottle #2 (batch 2) - I cracked another bottle approx. 6 months later, about 9 months after release. Still a fantastic beer but the grape and some citrus flavors have subsided so it didn't have the "Wow" factor it first did. Looking forward to batch #3.

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Photo of gueuzer
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 375 ml bottle

App- Straw colored with very minimal head. White lacing.

Sm- Muscat and oakiness. Reminds me of a Chardonnay. Citric tang wafting in.

Ta- Beautiful balance. The sweetness of the grapes and malts blends beautifully with the lactic tang. Finishes dry.

MF- Minimal carbonation. Very nice. Lactic mouthcoat, but the dryness laves you wanting to take another sip.

Dr- Absolutely wonderful. Competes with the Belgian sours. Wish there was a slight bit more complexity, but eh balance here is amazing.

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

Very excited to finally crack one of these babies open. Batch 5 into a Lost Abbey tulip. Golden straw color poured aggressively, yielding no head. Regardless, carbonation bubbles are rushing up from the bottom. Nose is filled with lots of funk, vinous/white grape, slight woodyness, a bit of soft floral tones, and finishes with lemon peel. The tongue follows to a generous degree, funky, lemon peel, subtle vinous (almost like a white wine), and sour green grapes. Pretty strong burst of carbonation in the beer itself, goes well with the sourness. Overall, my gosh. I think the complexity of this is great. I get so many flavors, it is hard to land them all. I have one more b5, and will surely sit on it till b6 comes around and do a side-by. Thanks CLBC!

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Photo of drewd0g
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 4 From the release. Poured into The Bruery Tulip.

A - A pleasant slightly hazy straw like color. Translucent with a head that dissipates very quickly.

S - Smells like grapes, similar to white wine. You can get a good feel of the tartness in nose. Always nice when you're looking forward to a sour and you get a lot of it right in the nose.

T - Served slightly chilled - A nice balance of sour and sweet. The grape flavor really comes through in this one alongside of some slight oakiness. Nice and tart with just the right amount of bite. Each sip leaves you wanting more.

M - Pretty thin body, appropriate for the style. Feels very clean on the tongue with a lively carbonation that has just the right amount of sharpness.

D - Highly drinkable, the tartness makes each sip better than the last. I can tell I'm going to go through mine pretty fast. Wish i had a couple cases of this one. Nicely done! another great brew from the crew @ CL

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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 carps12
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 3. Poured into a carbernet wine glass. Nice lively head with lacing that dissapates quickly. Dark yellow color. Nose of bright lemon, vinous, some funk, oak, white grape. Taste is great. Sweet lemon, grape with a bit of tartness followed by an oaky finish. Not that funky on the nose or taste. A lot of oak on the finish as well that becomes more prevalant as I drink. The oak on te finsih battles with the light funk making a balanced finish. This is way to easy to drink and with the smaller format I drank this in no time. mouthfeel was perfect carbonation and not to dry. Fantastic.

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Photo of TheViceBlog
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Trained up from Manhattan early Saturday morn to score a few of the coveted 840 released bottles.

Captain Lawrence compares it to a champagne and they aren't lying. I popped the top and it nearly exploded, ejaculations of foamy whiteness coming from the bottle like I was celebrating New Year's. It pours fizzier than any beer I've ever seen before. On the label it is described thusly as a "...combination of Belgian style ale which has been re-fermented with hand picked Muscat grapes & aged in wine barrels. As the beer ages in the oak it undergoes a secondary fermentation using the wild yeast known as Brettanomyces."

Cuvee de Castleton smells very much like a champagne and tastes like it too. Upon my first small sip, I almost retracted my tongue, I was so surprised by the intense tartness as this is the first wild ale I've ever had before. Definitely the most non-beer-tasting beer I've ever had as well. Even more so than Sam Adams Utopias. This really has nothing that really grounds it to being a beer except for the slight Belgian Ale of it. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Very carbonated, some good bite. You smell and taste white grapes and some spice too. Lemons and green sour apples. You'd have a hard time convincing a lot of people that this is actually beer though.

The sourness nails you at first so don't give up on this beer after the first sip. It takes a while to figure out this brew's brilliance. Luckily I got 4 bottles, two of which I am making my first attempts at cellaring, which should actually make the beer even more sour Captain Lawrence claims.

Due to the tartness you have to drink it slowly, but that's a good thing as it helps you absorb it better. I don't think any one besides me will say this, but ask yourself if you like Sour Patch Kids before having this one. (Oh he's so irreverent say the beer snobs reading this!) The tartness is remarkable though, my mouth was puckered for at least an hour after having the bomber. Everyone around me must have thought I wanted to kiss them. Perhaps I did. The beer makes you giggly and high just like some champers. I don't completely buy that it's 6% either. I was kinda effed up after one solo-consumed bomber.

Cuvee de Castleton becomes more beer-like the more you drink it and the warmer it gets. The oak flavor starts to really come through in this insanely complex brew. I was confused at first by this beer as it's my first ever wild ale, but by the end I was loving this and glad I have so many more bottles.

I really don't think this is a beer that impatient neophytes will like and it would be hard to convince them otherwise. They should probably avoid it as I could see them doling out knee jerk F grades. And, considering I've drank one bottle and thus there are at maximum 839 left in the world, good chance these folks will never get to try this masterpiece.

Aaron
www.theviceblog.com

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Photo of billzav
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a golden orange color, with considerable notes of Brettanomyces yeast and Muscat grapes complimented by malted barley. Cuvee De Castleton has a buttery Chardonnay like character from being aged in French oak barrels. Incredibly smooth with a crsp, clean finish. This is undoubtedly one of the best sour ales I have ever had.

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Photo of Habmike
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml batch 4

Very little head, just a small white ring around the edge. Light sunshine yellow thats just not completely glowing but still looks very nice at that.

Funky brett with a spicy lemon and herbal aroma. Some oak and acidity.

Funky tart with a citrus snap of herbal spicyness and grape flavor. Excellent depth and complexity but definitely some notes of cat piss as well.

Medium mouth with perfect carbonation for the age.

Pretty great drinkability but not too outrageous. I could drink the 375ml alone but I'd probably rather share it with someone.

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Photo of 6DaysBottomOcean
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes.. batch 4

Pours a beautiful golden color with a lively carbonation, quickly settles out to leave no head. Aroma is full of musty sweat and tart phenols, the brett is really is in its glory here. Initial flavor is of tart green apples and oak quickly followed by a puckering tartness but not overtly sour. A nice mouthfeel that is light but not thin that provides a solid platform for the flavor to stand. I could drink quite a few glasses of this, sadly a 375ml will have to suffice. I look forward to this release every year, great stuff.

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Photo of mclaughlindw4
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch number five bottle. A very clear beer with golden color. Not hazy at all as others have described. Oh wait, I guess pouring the last half was. No head.

Aroma is funky, vinous and cidery.

Tastes like sour apple, grapes, lemon, some funk. Very delicious. On the second pour with the yeast (or maybe as it warms) I am picking up some more floral components and some spice, but hard to pin down what.

I cracked this bottle for my 30th birthday and what a treat. Always nice to have a sour of this caliber.

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Photo of Plenum
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew is absolutely amazing. Picked up my alloted 6 bottles at the brewery this past weekend, and had a bottle that night. Beer has a great yellow-orange color. The smell is definitely that of a sour ale. The taste hints at lemon and bitter orange peel. The mouthfeel is impressive. This beer makes you wish you were a Captain Lawrence employee...

Excellent job!!! Great release day!!!! Hopefully this can become a twice annual release...

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Photo of sleepydave
4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Hophead101 for this in trade! 375ml bottle from batch #3.

Opened to a slight gushing but nothing near bad. I think this has some effect as there is a slight spritzy nature to a beer that looks devoid of carbonation after a few seconds of a large eggshell/ivory/ecru/white (random simpsons reference) head.
Poured into a Lindeman's tulip and rather hazy as well. A nice deep golden root beer color, pear juice maybe. Think the color from root beer candy canes, the gold they stripe them with is exactly this hue. By the time that sentence was written my second glass' head is completely gone and this looks like a nice still lambic albeit cloudy.

The nose is reminiscent of Bruocsella to me. Grapefruit, lemons, citrus rind, limes, maybe even some pineapple and peach scents (those two aromas came out much stronger after a few sips). Sandwiched by a nice funky intoxicating mix of brettanomyces and a tinge of alcohol. The brett is a little subdued on the front end with some acidity and prominent on the back with the fruit mingling in the middle. Only after pulling my nose away does my brain detect a slight muscat grape smell at the dying end.

The taste is where this brew really shines. It really is a journey, it's that complex. And it doesn't even stop after you have taken a sip. Sit back and revel in some very tropical fruit flavors long after the sip has gone down. It's complex, but it ramps into it. Although maybe it's more of a sine wave than a ramp.
It starts off with a tame tartness and some pineapple juice sweetness. Upon the swallow this beer explodes with a much more prominent citrusy tart bite followed immediately by some light funk and brett. You'd think that'd be it. But this beer is just warming up. A vividly fluxing aftertaste awaits you. My brain went a little nuts it was so unexpected. I get peaches, then pears, green apples, there are those muscat grapes, more pineapple sweetness. This aftertaste loiters for ages and it's wonderful and ever changing the entire time. This is the most tropical fruit experience I've had with a beer.
The 8% is very believable but not in a bad way at all. It's always there slightly, but it's nowhere near strong. It's rather odd to find an alcohol taste in a lambic style for me, but it's almost welcome.

Mouthfeel is that of a still lambic. Very thin, but the alcohol makes it coat like olive oil. Quite nice. Drinkability suffered as the tart citric quality mixed with the present alcohol would make a 750 a chore for one person. More so than others in the style.

While not my favorite beer ever, it's quite an experience and one I hope to seek out again. Very worthy of the hype, I can't believe this was done on this side of the pond.

EDIT: I just had the pleasure of a batch 1 bottle of this particular beer and it was one of the most delicious drinks I have ever been privy to. I'd go into more detail but I wasn't feeling too well for parts of the day and it was a long drive.
Sans excuses, the alcohol heat was GONE, GOODBYE! This turned into a thin tropical orange julius type of drink. I just cannot get over how absolutely spot on this beer is aged a few years. Just stunning!
I have changed my scores to a combination of the batch#3 and #1. Rounding in favor of batch#1.
#3 Scores- 3.5, 3.5, 4.5, 3.5, 3.0
#1 Scores- 3.5, 5.0, 5.0, 4.0, 5.0

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Photo of Hair
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy yellow/gold with a pure white head that is large but fades quickly. Head is sort of soapy, and there is no lacing because the foam simply slips down the side of the glass. The aroma is of lemons and brett. A lot of brett funk in the aroma, but not much in the flavor. The Brett is very subtle in the flavor. Tastes like grapefruit juice (not in a hoppy way) and lemons (juice and rind). Very easy to drink if you like sour flavors. Very refreshing, though not super complex. Being a sourtooth, I love this. Thanks HopHead75 for the beer. I feel very special to have got to try a bottle of this out on the West Coast.

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