Mother Barrel Select
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

Mother Barrel SelectMother Barrel Select
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Wild Ale
4.13 | pDev: 8.23%
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Mother Barrel SelectMother Barrel Select
Notes: This is the last beer to be aged in Scott’s 800 gallon oak barrel before emptying it so he could get it out of the old brewery in Pleasantville. The beer is a black ale, aged in the wood for over a year. It has some bright sour notes, a touch of musty wood, and fruity undertones.
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 63 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of brother_kenneth
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This one was bottled April, 2012. Poured into a snifter glass. Thanks to sidebordz for the hook up.

The beer pours a nice dark color, almost black - very stout-like in appearance. I was surprised to see a little bit of head on this one! Smells funky as hell and has a nice sour cherry kind of scent. Also, right up front you can smell that big oak barrel. The mouth feel is pretty thin and lightly carbonated. The flavors are very nice. I get some dark cherries and quite a bit of the oak barrel; as other reviewers have mentioned, this is a very "musty" wood flavor. It tastes old. Beyond this, there is plenty of lactic acidity and if it is this sour now, I can't imagine how it tasted last year.

Overall, a very well made, complex wild ale. My first from Capt. Lawrence and I assure you, I will be back.

 810 characters

Photo of DovaliHops
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a large, tan head that goes down quickly. Scent is very acidic, with a ton of lactic tartness. Definite cherry aromas, since this beer is so dark, I'm tempted to call them black cherries, but who knows. Some nice fruitiness with a nice amount of oak and wood. Very funky, with definite sour notes. Small amount of chocolate as well. Taste is basically just as it smells. Tons of wood and a good amount of musty oak flavors. There is a slight anise flavor, but VERY LITTLE. Lovely cherry and lactic sour flavors. Hints of red wine and vinegar. Hints of vanilla and chocolate with more sour cherry. Slight raspberry flavor. Alcohol is well-hidden. Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, puckering, and slightly warming. Drinkability is high. Overall, this beer is very interesting, and somewhat complex. I'm very glad I got to try this, and I'm glad I have another to age. Not the best CL beer I've had, but very tasty.

 934 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
2.86/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big thanks to Huhzubendah for sharing this one. Served in a Captain Lawrence cervoise. Black. Nose has a bit of fruit and fairly-heavy acid. Flavor has a touch of roast and dark fruit. Mild acetic. Dry. A bit harsh. I generally haven't been a huge fan of Captain Lawrence sours, so it's not too surprising that I wasn't a big fan of this one.

 342 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer shared at a recent tasting, thanks. Served in a snifter. Beer is dark with a tan head, low retention, no lacing, looks fine.

ARoma is interesting, lactic, dark, nice.

Beer is medium in body and mildly sweet up front with a thin body on the finish and some lactic acid in there with a mild tartness. A decent sour but Captain Lawrence makes better beers.

 360 characters

Photo of cavedave
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Merc for picking this up for me. Live review.

Pours darkest brown, red highlights, a finger of light brown head that recedes to a lasting cap.

Tart and citrus with hints of funk carry into the nose on sharp alcohol. Not altogether a pleasant aroma, even for a wild.

Sharply vinous tart to start things, some brown sugar sweet adds to it, unripe cherry, hints of hormonal funk, and the sip ends with lactic tart lingering. Tasty, but I expect more.

Low carb. but lively enough, thick, could be a bit cleaner finish.

Compared to other wilds from this brewer this is less tasty and less complex. Glad I got to try it, but I won't be seeking it out again. Not recommended at this price for sure.

 703 characters

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks merc for sharing this...
The beer pours black with a thin white head. The nose is slightly metallic and tart with a touch of acetone pulled in on a good whiff. The flavor is relatively mild and sweet, but definitely sour (just not overwhelming). As expected it's puckeringly dry, but the black ale adds an interesting contrast to the sourness. Overall this is a tasty beer that could afford to sit for a bit.

 415 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.55/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375 mL bottle to a snifter. No name. Come on, Captain Lawrence... Bottled 4/12, which I guess is the only way you know it's Mother Barrel.

Appearance - Dark, not quite black. Wispy lace and leggy for a sour ale.

Smell - Sour. Flemish red smelling. Soured dark malts with a cherry twang. Chocolate in the back.

Taste - Cherry sour. Immediate vinegar, which is unpleasant. Oaky finish. Not much base beer remaining. This is extremely sour.

Mouthfeel - Very vinegary, but not boozy. High carbonation and extremely puckering.

Overall - Vinegar sour. I don't love it. It's tough to avoid when you sour those dark malts, though. It's decent and clean, but too acetic for me.

 673 characters

Photo of ehammond1
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, cosmicevan!

Nearly black in color with a moderately sized dark brown head that dies down to a film atop the beer. This leaves messy sheets of stick down the glass.

A very nice aroma quite similar to the Barrel Select Black: lactic sourness, wood, vinegar, black pepper, and some currants and/or cherries. Very nice.

This is quite sour, with very nice wood and black currant notes, and mild vanilla. The alcohol is very well hidden. There's some vinegar here as well, along with big red wine notes throughout. Very nice, complex, evolving.

Medium bodied with high carbonation--somewhat spritzy.

Very nice.

 653 characters

Photo of ShanePB
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Greenplastic615 for bringing this to our weekly bottle share. 375 ml bottle served into a tulip.

A: Dark brown, not hitting inky black but almost there. Reddish hues appear in the light towards the bottom. Small beige head forms but leaves on a thin ring. Minor lacing.

S: Huge acidic sour notes, dark roasted malts, dry Merlot and some simple sweet red berries. Perhaps some cherry and grape, with a good amount of oak on the back.

T: A nice sour bite up-front that does follow into the back end, but it's balanced with the dark malts, caramel and wood. There plenty of fruitiness here too, black cherry and more grapes. The roasted malts come back in the linger.

M: Nicely carbonated without being overdone. For a big barrel aged sour black ale this is quite nice. A bit dry from the oak to finish off.

I was really excited to try this one, so thanks again Jason. This almost tasted like Weyerbacher Sour Black on steroids. A really nice beer, it leaves me wanting more from Captain Lawrence.

 1,013 characters

Photo of stakem
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers and a big thanks to DSlim71 for hooking me up with this. 375ml green bottle poured into a matching Captain Lawrence cervoise. This brew pours a very dark brown color that rests in the glass looking pretty close to black. When held to the light, it shines with lighter brown clarity. A dark tan cap sits atop with just about 2 fingers strength and recedes to less than a finger with streaming bubbles supporting. As the cap fades, it leaves patches and spots sticking to the glass.

The nose has some lemony citric bite to it mixed with a significant lactic presence. A suggestion of vinegar, acetone and a hint of plastic rounds things out. Behind the wild character, there is a fairly noticeable roasted element that smells of roasty chocolate first with a hint of coffee that then blends into earth, tobacco and leather. The aromatics of this brew capture exactly what I would expect for a sour stout or black american wild ale.

The taste of this brew just straight up brings the sourness. Mild vinegar and acetone lead the way with a hint of plastic, earth and lemon. Throughout the flavor profile, acetone is evident mixed with some mineral quality that is almost beefy or bloody. A faint inclusion of sour cherry quality tries to poke through. The brew finishes with more earthy elements that are mildly musty with dark chocolate and coffee really coming out in the aftertaste.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. For a 10% wild ale, the alcohol is fairly well hidden behind the sharp acidity. I really liked how the sourness integrated with the dark roasty quality that is still evident in this brew. If somehow the acetone and funky plastic could be removed this would be a world class offering. However, as-is it is pretty solid and I look forward to revisiting this with some age on it.

 1,834 characters

Photo of FosterJM
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1421st Review on BA
Bottle to Bruery Taster
375 ml

Vintage 2012
Thanks to winning rice for sharing

Chicago Bottleshare

App- This poured out like a flat cola color (color only). Really had no head behind it and maybe 2 dots of cling.

Smell- What the hell is in this glass? It's got a ton on the nose. A bit that opens up with a deep lactic note and moves into a cherry cough medicine aroma.

Taste- The final note of the cherry cough medicine is the opening flavor of this with a good mix of tannic, oak, sour and a bit of booze flavor.

Mouth- A smaller medium body with a medium carbonation level. Fairly medicinal but still was nice.

Drink- A very tasty beer with a good depth of flavor. Small oak with some anise and dark fruits. Reminds me of a thicker Marrone Aciddife.

 779 characters

Photo of CooperEllis
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle dated 4/12.

The appearance is judged after the insane frothyness recedes. Deep brown, very light at the edges.

Musty smell, faintly sour. Not much in the nose, but that leaves little to be wrong with it as well.

From the description - this pretty much hits all the right spots "It has some bright sour notes, a touch of musty wood, and fruity undertones." The fruit undertones are mostly lemon rind, that picks up the sour as well. This hits my favorite sourness level, but I could see it needing *funk* for others to enjoy it. The warmth helps this one expand and would allow it to heat back up after chilling to prevent explosion.

Really a nice mouthfeel which I was not expecting from the pour, which left 3" head on top of 2.5" brew. Pops a bit up front, finishes mostly, slightly lingering but tolerable.


 836 characters

Photo of davey101
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle into a snifter. Bottled on 4/12.

A - Pitch black body, just a hint of red/brown when held up to the light. One finger high light khaki head forms and does not go away. Really nice lacing and retention considering the high abv. Forms some alcoholic legs as well. Looks like a stout.

S - Not what I was expecting. Really complex, and frankly just all over the place. Strong anise/liquorice notes followed by some smoke and peaty malts. A touch of vanilla and oak, but just a massive anise presence. A bit of grapes and spice on the finish. Not detecting too much barrel or dark fruits like others are getting. Really unique and pleasant aroma.

T - About as sour as sour gets. Its interesting because its not based off of fruit flavors, like cherries in a kriek. Instead its based off of really strong smoke and anise flavors. Anise leads into intense smoke along with some acetic and vinegar notes that you'll find in a flanders oud bruin. Some sour cherries, oak, and vanilla. Mouth puckering with a nice medium and coating mouth feel. Carbonation is really spritzy and works with the body and keeps the flavors from coming off as syrupy. Its a sipper though, drinking this too quickly results in flavor overload!

O - What a wild beer. This really changed my view on what a wild ale can be. This is like a super sour anise heavy porter with a flanders vibe. I loved it though. Really unique and just proves that the Captain knows how to use their barrels.

 1,472 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is dark chestnut brown with a thin beige cap that leaves a film of sticky lacing on the walls of the glass.

The aroma is reminiscent of a Flanders oud bruin. Plums, wood, some dark fruit and wine notes.

Bold flavor with a big sour finish. Lots of oak character throughout. Alcohol presence is there, but I find it to be unobtrusive. Of course, I am slowly sipping this bottle on a deck in Vermont, and I am in no hurry to move on to yet another Heady Topper (good life). A touch of caramel malt and toffee.

Very sticky on the palate with an aggressive sourness.

Overall, I really liked this one. Both this beer and Hops 'N' Roses are very well done. I'm so elated that I stopped by Captain Lawrence to acquire these.

 732 characters

Photo of claspada
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottled 4/12.

Pours a pitch black color with no visible light illuminating or any reddish hues, just black. 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 background coffee and dark bitter chocolate. No sweetness just coffee bean and sour black cherries.

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. Mild roast once again highlighted by dark bitter chocolate but the sourness continuously bombards the taste buds over and over so it is hard to grasp anything else. Dark sour cherry explosion.

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 this is once of, if not the most sour beers I have ever had; to be honest I am super blown away. With each sip you want to go back for more in hops to satiate the dryness on your palate, but to no avail. I can't imagine how this is going to develop overtime as it is super sour and ready to go right now. Oh yeah 10%, HAHA, that is stupid because I wouldn't have pegged this for more than 7.

 1,565 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.08/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The label for this and Barrel Select Black is exactly the same. The only difference is, this one has the new Captain Lawrence cap and a bottling date of 4/12.

Looks exactly like Barrel Select Black. Better head retention though. Pitch black. Light cream mocha head. Oily legs. Light, non-stick lace.

Nose is cream, dark, tart fruit, peat, and some woodiness. Some sour roastiness also. Average.

Opens tart red fruit. Soy sauce and vinegar tartness. Big sour red fruit notes towards the middle and end. Boozy. Wood and peat at the end. Finishes puckering. Not this brewery's best work though not bad by any means.

Medium to full bodied with ample carbonation. Oily and filmy in the mouth and prickly going down. Finish is messy with a long, lingering aftertaste. Average though this gets a bump for hiding the big-time ABV.

This is easily the worst of the Barrel Select series for me. The flavors here are very muddled and there's a great big vinegar and booze presence right at the end that kicks me in the face. Not really a fan though I can see how others might enjoy it.

 1,082 characters

Photo of vonnegut21
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep brown/black with a thin, half finger of tan head. Minimal lacing.

S: Strong sourness in the nose, developing into a mix of vinegar, oak and wine notes. The smell makes me anticipate a super acidic flavor.

T: This beer is in your face sour. In a good way. Lots of acid up front. Deep, strong oak flavors with some dry wine flavors. A bit of vinegar and cherry on the back palate.

M: Very well carbonated, with a drying finish. Leaves you anticipating the next mouthful.

O: If you like your wild ales with lots of acidity and up front sourness, this is an excellent beer. Lots of oak character and some vinuous notes, but mostly an in your face sour punch. Definitely grab some if you have the chance.

 719 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to nick for picking this up for me at brewery, was pleasantly surprised to still see it available yesterday when I was there so grabbed another bottle or two. Enjoyed from a Captain Lawrence tulip.

a - brew poured a deep shiny brown that settled into the glass black with a finger plus of off white almost cream colored tan head. The head was a layering of bubbles that slowly fizzled away while new ones bubbled to the surface adding new layers. No lacing to speak of and swirling the glass rebuilt the fizzy head quickly.

s - on pouring the beer a sour odor filled the air. Upon closer inspection a sweet tart vinegar odor waffled into my nasal passages. Quite pungent. Some oak is in there adding to the tartness, but this is mostly vinegary cherry. Very reminiscent of barrel select black.

t - big burst of sourness almost knocked me out of my seat. You can definitely find the nor Easter base with the red wine notes, but they are soured over immensely. Strng vinegar on top of sour cherries, but a nice balance of dry red wine nor Easter notes. Quite nice.

m - puckeringly sour, medium to full bodied. Finishes a touch dry but extremely smooth and I am surprised to say a quenching drink for the warm weather.

o - overall a sour for the sour fans. Although I am not drinking this side by side with the black, memory tells me this is like the black but on sour steroids...much sharper and vinegary, but quite tasty indeed. I really am digging all the experimentation coming out of capt Lawrence lately and this is another winner. Souring nor Easter is interesting since the base is deeper and richer than your standard sours, but the oak really brightens it up. Don't be fooled by the color this baby is sour and with a red wine twist. India it. Glad to have a few more of these. Thanks capt! Keep them coming.

 1,827 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to lurchingbeast for sharing this at my birthday party. Served in a taster glass.

A - Tan foam settles to a thick collar, no lace. Very dark brown body.

S - I didn't realize this was a variant of Barrel Select Black, but the flavor profile makes a lot more sense now. Sour vinegary notes mingle with chocolate malts, oak and vanilla, tart cherries, and perhaps a hint of plastic.

T - Taste is significantly more sour, with lots of tart cherries, balsamic vinegar, and again a hint of plastic. Less malt character, with nebulous chocolate and roast flavors in the periphery. Also, minimal trace of the 10% ABV.

M - Smooth and sufficiently hefty medium body, super dry, oaky, and tannic, with lower carbonation, and a hefty dose of acidity. Alcohol is again quite well hidden.

D - Interesting stuff, and largely compelling other than the faint plastic flavor. I'm curious to see how this compares to Barrel Select Black, but it bodes well.

I went back to some of my older Captain Lawrence reviews and noticed similar 'plastic' notes - I guess I just don't like their house wild strains very much?

 1,107 characters

Photo of brystmar
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Josh, you're the man! Bottled 4/12.

Same label as BS Black, though this sports the new CL cap. Nearly black pour, decent lace. Honestly looks like a stout with the frothy tan head. Aroma is sour, funky, and oaky with mildly dark/roasty notes too.

Taste seems to be a slightly roasted blend of CdC and Rosso. Fruity; lots of oak too. Tart with mild sourness & acidity, but plenty of lacto. Works surprisingly well, finishing clean and dry.

Another winner from Captain Lawrence!

 479 characters

Mother Barrel Select from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 63 ratings