Red Belgian Ale
The Grey Parrot

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Beer Geek Stats:
American Wild Ale
not listed
Needs more ratings
4.52 | pDev: 0%
The Grey Parrot
Washington, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Photo of brewandbbq
4.44/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One pint swingtop bottle. Brewed 2/1/07, hand bottled 5/7/10 straight from the stainless drum out back.

Pours perfectly flat with a nearly opaque dark mahogany body with ruby tinges.

Aromatics lead off with balsamic-drizzeled cherries, soured fruit pits, tannic appleskins, sherry, and wet socks. Jowel watering from the nose alone. Hints of smoked seasalt, worstershire, and port follow through.

Medium bodied with a sharp mouthfeel. Puckering and slickish.

A balsamic reduction with sour cherries start the palate. Extremely vineous and wine-like. Port, rotted apples, sherry-soaked dried figs, and bright, clean acid follow through.

Finishes with lingering balsamic, dried cherries, and extremely tart.

What a beer. I don't like to compare one beer to another, but this one reminds me of the first Earthmonk I had. Extremely unique, sour, and fruity, with an intense depth of flavor. Some carbonation would be nice but it drinks like wine now.


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Photo of RedDiamond
4.59/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Forget the “Belgian” in this beer’s name or it’s occasional misrepresentation as a “Lambic.” This is a genuine American wild ale, one of only a handful of real wild ales I’m aware of in the entire United States. This is not a pseudo-wild ale brewed with commercially available brett- or lacto- cultures or similarly inoculated barrels. Those aren’t wild ales at all and frankly it bugs me that too many brewers play fast and easy with the nomenclature.

This is a real wild ale spontaneously fermented with local, native yeasts. The brewer racks from the brew kettle to the primary fermenter, a 55-gallon drum, without chilling the wort with a heat exchanger. Instead, it is allowed to gently cool to ambient temperatures, creating a vacuum inside the fermenter. When the wort reaches 70°F, the brewer cracks open a valve causing unfiltered coastal air to rush into the drum. After an hour or so the wort is infected, the valve is closed, and the magic begins.

The result is a piquant, sour beer with a tart, black cherry aroma. The sullen, semi-translucent body is bleary-eyed red trending towards brown. Wild yeasts define the flavor almost entirely creating a taste comparable to black cherry cola, but with a sharp, sour edge. No fruits or adjuncts are added.

This so-called “Red Belgian Ale” is a remarkable achievement. It uses only local, naturally occurring wild yeasts from the Long Beach peninsula, yet achieves a highly refined, Euro-influenced taste. Grey Parrot produces a number of similarly designed wild ales, a brown ale among them, others brewed with fruit. They are among the rarest and most distinguished beers in the state and shouldn’t be missed.

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Red Belgian Ale from The Grey Parrot
Beer rating: 4.52 out of 5 with 2 ratings