Barrel Select Black
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

Barrel Select BlackBarrel Select Black
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Wild Ale
Ranked #391
Ranked #3,570
4.18 | pDev: 6.94%
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States
Barrel Select BlackBarrel Select Black
Notes: A Belgian-style black ale aged in Italian oak tanks. Wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria have ripened it into a tart, oaky, uniquely tangy and drinkable sour ale.
Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 100 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Orbfan:
Photo of Orbfan
5/5  rDev +19.6%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12.7 ounce green bottle, purchased at the source a week or so ago, $15. Allowed to warm up quite a bit before opening.

Pours a deep and very dark shade of brown, dark mocha head, of just a bit more then a film. Leaves a moderate collar and some spots of high lace.

As soon as the bottle was opened, the nose of musty and vinegary sournes sprang forth. Notes of vinegar, forest floor, and again mustyness.

Carbonation is spot on, soft and pleasing to the senses.

Under the initial moderate sour punch, some dark chocolate malts can be tasted. Also a pronounced wood/smoke note. Super dry and sour/tart throughout.

Loved it. Worth seeking out if you enjoy complex, big and quite sour beeers. A nice treat.

 708 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Arrives the color of molasses, with no head whatsoever

Smell: Funky and oaky, with caramel, prune and lactic tones

Taste: Caramel and lactic prune, up front, with developing funk and oak tones in the middle; vinegary and funky in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body but zero carbonation

Overall: Rather clunky, I am afraid, with the flavors not blending well at all; the mouthfeel was disappointing, too

 431 characters

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Clear, reddish-brown body with a three finger head that left lots of lacing.

Aroma – Sour, berries and plums, pretty tangy.

Taste – Sour, tannins, a little fruity, some malt under the sourness, long sour aftertaste

Mouthfeel – Quite puckering but good.

Overall – A very very good sour ale. High price point though.

 342 characters

Photo of whartontallboy
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of yourefragile
3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle shared by Ben.

As the beer pours it has a pretty clear purplish mahogany hue that settles in a darker garnett brown with light purple tinges against light and a creamy, light tan head. Some legs and dots of lace with a thin film and small bubbly collar. Immediately upon popping the cap a potent vinegar sourness hits the aroma and as the beer warms the nose becomes slightly oak, red grape, light vanilla, fruity and vinegary with a potent rubbing alcohol finish. Flavor immediately hits on the Rosso barrels and vinous red grapes with the Nor'Easter underlying with rich malt and sweet fruit. As the beer warms, more fruit emerges from the vinegar and oaky prevalence. Thicker side of medium body with light, fine carbonation. Fairly dry and oaky finish. Much, much better than Barrel Select Cherry and Raspberry, not quite Rosso, but drinking nicely fresh. The fruit flavor is already fairly mild so aging this long term doesn't seem like a great idea.

 970 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Chris (spycow). Served in a Hill Farmstead tulip at Jason's place.

A - White foam settles to wisps, partial collar, and minimal lacing. Body is quite black; this beer delivers!

S - Lots of oak, vinegar, cassis, and some lightly musky funk as well. Somewhat harsh, rough, and acidic, although some of that might be alcohol that I'm misinterpreting.

T - The taste is better, with less aggressive oak, and much better-hidden alcohol. A nice mix of dark berries, light vanilla, still some oak, and some cherry vinegar.

M - Dry, medium body, lower carbonation, moderate acidity. Alcohol is very well-hidden, as I didn't realize this was anywhere close to 10%. Could use a bit more spritz, but otherwise pretty solid.

D - The smell is rough, but once you get past it the taste is surprisingly enjoyable. I've never totally loved Captain Lawrence sours, and this beer is pretty consistent with my past experiences. Nice to try, but not something I'd actively seek out again.

 989 characters

Photo of mltobin
4/5  rDev -4.3%

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

Pours a very very dark brown color with some reddish hues. Smallish khaki brown colored head that immediately dissipates leaving some decent spotty lacing.

Aromas begin with sour cherries and super tart berries, I was not expecting that from the appearance. Some light earthy and oakiness emerge as well. As it warms you get the nice subtle sour dark black cherries and maybe some other dark fruits.

The tastes begin with the same punch in the face of dark cherry sourness coupled with some lesser sweeter black raspberry fruitiness. There is also some malt to be deciphered here but not exponentially more or less than the aroma. Hints of earthiness and oak with notes of a fruit infused balsamic vinegar poke out as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to higher carbonation (for a 10% beer). Finish is super dry with mouth-puckering amounts of sour and tartness.

Overall I did not enjoy this as much as Mother Barrel as this was a bit more vinegar-forward and dark fruity compared to the roast flavors I enjoyed in Mother Barrel. Still good, just not as spectacular and I don't see this aging well (like pretty much every high ABV American Wild).

 1,166 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Unlabelled bottles at EBF.

Dark molasses brown color, a bit of light coming through, nice fizzy head.

Nose sour brown malts, toasty sweet caramel brown malts that seem to have been soured, a touch of a tart fruity kick as well.

Taste sour brown malts, caramel like brown malts, light acidic tart mouth watering, a bit of tart darker malts like a soured fig or something, light lacto or lambicus like acidity and tartness, and hint of bready malts. A bit sticky on the finish but it dries a bit, more acicity, hint of booze, and decent tartness that doesn't linger as long as expected.

Mouth is a bit bigger bodied than I expected, good carb.

Overall interesting, its a nice take but was hard to hold up to Castleton and Golden Delicious next to it.

 753 characters

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of BARFLYB
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle split with oglmcdgl in some glasses.

Barrel Select Black is not totally black, very dark brown in color with a small amount of dark tan bubbles that grace the top for a few. Some minimal suds on the glass. Pours out dirty and looks to have a nice body on it. The scent really jumps out with tart berries and oak. Some vinegar and acidic nature. Blackberries and some roasted quality. Would not surprise me if some of CL's porters were in one of the barrels. Taste is nice and tart and layered. Berries are up front, oak is dominant, some vanilla seeps through, red wine taste, vinegar, porter essence. Tart cherry, blackberry, etc. Feel is at about medium with a subtle carb and an acidic finish with slight vinegar, yet not at flanders red levels. This was a great beer, a nice mix of flavors and possibly one of the better dark sours I have had. The only drawback is the 10% is in the mix a bit.

 907 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of billyshears
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of bump8628
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of ehammond1
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, whartontallboy!

A very dark crimson and dark brown, but definitely not black. There isn't a lot of visible carbonation and the head is small, quickly fading, and light brown in color. It leaves the glass oily on the way down.

The aroma is complex, evolving, and immensely enjoyable. There's big, stinging sour character immediately, along with a good amount of barrel, and dark fruit--cherries? currants? There's also a bit of roast character rounding things out nicely.

The flavor is just as nice as the aroma, with a big, full sour character from sip to swallow, lots dark cherry and/or black currant fruit, nuts, and mild roast. This comes together really nicely.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

This reminds me of a 1- to 2-year-old bottle of Russian River's Consecration, and that's a very, very good thing.

 863 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.52/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to bmanning for grabbing this bottle for me. Served in a Captain Lawrence cervoise. Pours a very dark brown with a short off-white head that bubbles up and falls fairly quickly without leaving too much lacing behind. The nos carries some light notes of cherry and roast underneath a moderate lactic presence. Touch of oak. Flavor has a good mixture of fruit, acid, and background malt. Light-medium body with good carbonation. Medium level of acidity. Quite easy to drink. Nice.

 489 characters

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Apellonious
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 . 7 fl oz poured into Wicked Weed *(pre purchase) tulip glass, a dark brownish/black with a thin rim of lace. Sour, oak, pear on the aroma. The taste is in line, with nothing overpowering. Melds well when it warms. Mouthfeel is medium, carbonation medium. A great rep of a sour brown ale.

 297 characters

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of portia99
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle courtesy of hoppymcgee. Thanks Greg! Poured into a Lost Abbey stemmed glass. Hoping to resurrect the good name of Captain Lawrence tonight after a less than satisfactory experience with a Little Linda's Liquid earlier tonight.

A - As it was being poured I noticed some brownish/reddish/mahogany tones, but once in the glass black is a pretty good descriptor of the color of this beer. A finger cap of dark tan and somewhat fizzy foam lingers briefly before falling to a thin surface cap and a densely bubbled low collar around the edge of the glass. As the beer disappears and the light penetrates it more, this definitely has a solid brown body to it - rich, caramel brown.

S - Sour up front, a bit vinegary, woody, astringent, a bit of caramel, burnt sugar, oaky, very low funk, earthy, dark fruits.

T - Sour up front with an emphasis on a vinegary sourness. Lots of cherries behind the vinegar and a dry and almost nutty flavor. Earthy, very woody, traces of bitterness (maybe burnt or dark roasted malts causing this), some blackberries and/or boysenberries especially towards the swallow. Funk comes on as the beer warms a bit adding a barnyardy presence and some sweaty socks. Quite complex...and there is something else there I can't place...and its driving me crazy trying to come up with it.

M - Lightish body with a mid-level carbonation. Mid-level sourness/tartness, just a touch puckering...more mouth watering than anything. Starts vinegary and falls off to a smooth caramelly, nutty and fruity flavor that really tames the sourness on the finish.

O - Pretty impressive sour. Complex with really enough sourness to make the mouth water but not overpowering...allows the multitude of other flavors to come thru very well. Quite drinkable and satisfying...a little bit difficult for me to not quaff this a bit. Very satisfying and difficult to take slowly.

 1,885 characters

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

Barrel Select Black from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 100 ratings