Arbor Brewing Velvet Hammer | Arbor Brewing Company

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Arbor Brewing Velvet HammerArbor Brewing Velvet Hammer
Very Good
26 Ratings
Arbor Brewing Velvet HammerArbor Brewing Velvet Hammer

Brewed by:
Arbor Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gueuzedude on 12-30-2008

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 26 |  Reviews: 15
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Champaneau Cellars. A wild ale more than a sour ale. An American yeast strain, akin to a Brett, build on the palate, accumulating continuously, it. Between then is some sugar, lots of malt. Understated as a sour brown. Medium brown colour with an off-white head. Above-aveage mouthfeel.

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Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

Photo of Thorpe429
2.94/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to jale for bringing this out at our weekend tasting. Served in a Savor snifter.

Pours a fairly-dark brown color with a single-finger head and a touch of light lacing and bubbles as it went down. The nose was roasty brown and a bit plain, with just a touch of light acetic character coming through without any real oak or fruit presence.

The taste added in a bit of very light cherries, combining this with some roasted brown malt and a touch of acidity. Medium body with light carbonation. Overall, more of a slightly-soured brown ale than a Flanders, but went down smoothly and I had no problem finishing my glass.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -20%

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Shared by Richard on 1-14-12.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks for sharing, Richard.

Pours dark amber in color with a big off-white head. Not really too much of a nose on this one. It’s got some vinegar and some caramel malt notes, maybe a touch of molasses, surprisingly. Some lemon and lemon zest notes, perhaps some cherries. The flavor is sort of oxidized and just old. There is a bit of vinegar sourness and a residual sweetness, but not much.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.29/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to jale. Not sure how it's different from the "Third" or other bottlings. Served in a Chouffe tulip.

A - Pours with a finger of tan foam that settles to a thick collar and patchy cap. Hazed ruby-red/brown color.

S - Popcorn, burnt wood, some vague vinegar and vinous notes.

T - Taste is much improved, with some tart vinegar and oaky vanilla. Finish has some residual toffee brown ale notes, as well as some toasted wood character.

M - Surprisingly zesty carbonation, sticky tooth-coating finish. Body is medium, and there's no obvious alcohol.

D - This was pretty easy to drink, all things considered. If you can get past the weird and slight unpleasant aroma it's a slight above average sour.

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Photo of sweemzander
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL corked & caged bottle poured into a snifter. Thank you Scott for sharing! The cork just shot off this thing like a cannon! That seriously would have taken someones head off!

(A)- Pours a dark brown color. A rocket of a cork that gushed up. Some nice tan foam and lace.

(S)- A nice funk. Some sour vinegar-like sourness and fruit.

(T)- A nice sour caramelized fruit and vinegar profile. Funky too with a nice cutting sourness.

(M)- A big carbonation level, but it fits well. Smooth and crisp with those nice caramelized fruits.

(D)- A nice sour. Caramelized fruit and sour vinegar oak. Good stuff!

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Arbor Velvet Hammer, 2009 Bottle..

750 Ditmier cracked at a tasting at his house a while back .. a pretty big gusher... poured into my small La Trappe glass...

Huge foamy head.. cloudy dark brown.. took probably 15 minutes to subside..

Nose is dark fruits and a significant acetic element... some red wine comes in but is lost fairly quickly..

Flavor is more fruity than the expected sour.. vinous red wine.. reminds me of a bad cali zinfandel.. very fruity and mildly acetic with a punch of earthy brett...

I wish I would have taken better notes from what Eric was corking... I will keep score on the brewery for a bit.. and will definitely try and grab a bottle next go around... hopefully they dial back the carbonation quite a bit.


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Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

Photo of jrallen34
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle contributed by Jale...A dark brown with a little amber, clear. A finger of tan head that is thick with good retention, light lacing though...A very buttery aroma, brett notes, lightly burnt wood...The taste is similar to the aroma's notes, but a little more affective. Tart vinegar notes, still some wood. I can't find the brown ale, guess its trying to be an oud bruin. As an oud bruin its pretty average.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.61/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

08 (third) and 09 (4th) poured next to each other. Review of the 08.

A-both pour the same color, a dark brown, hazy color with a thinner khaki colored head.

S-the nose brings a fair amount of acetaldehyde, green apples, notes of dry oaky dust, slightly metalic, hints of spice.

T-taste is pretty similar to the nose, green apples, spice, light tartness, acetaldehyde, slightly metalic, the oak is present and dusty.

M-smooth and soft on the palate, carbonation is quite present, a little dry in the back with a light body.

D-this is not very tasty, the sourness doesn't overtake the green apple but it seems to have many faults.

The 09 might even be worse. The malt body is much stronger, maybe some diacetyl in there. The green apple is there as well, caramel, lighter oak presence and not as dusty, earthy.

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Photo of anteater
3.94/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of gford217
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle, courtesy of brewdan, poured into a tulip.

The cork comes out with a loud pop and the foam starts running out the top before I can get it to a glass. The pour is a dark hazy brown with an enormous off-white head that shows excellent retention with a rocky cap hanging on for the duration.

The aroma is lightly sour with some tart fruits and a hefty brown sugar sweetness. There are some caramel malts and Belgian yeast in the nose as well.

The taste is a little more sour but it's still not overpoweringly tart with some sweet sugary fruits. The finish is dry and very vinous with an oaky character lingering after each sip. There is a hint of vinegar sourness on the palate as well.

The mouthfeel is extremely lively, effervescent in fact, with tons of carbonation. It leads the medium body to feel almost light with all the bubbles.

This is a very good sour and one that is extremely drinkable due to its subtle sourness. I'm a fan of dubbels as well, so the base sweetness made it more appealing to me.

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Photo of hopdog
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml caged and corked bottle. Opened to a very loud pop.

***I wouldn't exactly call this one a gusher...more of a slow seeper.***

Off white head that settled into a deeper and muddy reddish-brownish color. Aromas of wood, spices -pepper-, toasty, a little earthy, yeast, and some funkiness. A lot going on there and I was getting something different all the time. Tastes of dark fruits, cherries, vinous, wood, vanilla, lighter funkiness, and some caramel. Lively body with a nice dry finish. Light to medium sweet start with a light tart finish. This one was very interestingly different and quite drinkable.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from summer of 2009.

750ml bottle enjoyed up north during Eb's Belgi fest.

A gentle pour after a loud popping disgorgement revealed a dark mahogany body with a ruby hue when held to the light. A massive, three inch head of beige foam slowly sank to a solid coating on the surface with plenty of lacing throughout the glass.

Aromatics lead off with soured dark fruits, spicy phenols, and a hint of roast.
Bits of raisins, ginger skins, and cocoa follow through.

Medium bodied with a pillowy, effervescent mouthfeel. Soft with a splintered edge.

Sour fruit and spicy raisins lead off the palate. Caramelized appples, grapefruit skins, balsamic vinegar, and a hint of dark rum follow through.

Finishes with a lingering sourness but short of sharp or bracing. Lactic in nature without much acid.

Tasty beer. Nicely sour and dryish with a lot of dark fruit character. More bright acid and sourness would ramp this one up.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Plum Market in Ann Arbor on 7/24/10.

Barrel-Aged sour brown ale. The cage was coming off a little bit and it made me a bit nervous. The cork was still in pretty good though since it is a down right massive one. While lots of it was still above the lip of the bottle there was still over half of it jammed down in there. It came out easily, it practically shot out. There was a very loud pop and lots of gunsmoke. I was anticipating some gushing but luckily everything stayed calm.

A- Poured gently into a Piraat tulip and the beer still is 75% head. You have to pour this in stages. You get a huge dirty tan head that sits atop a very muddy ruddy brown beer.

S- Very sour smelling. Its making my glands twinge in preparation. Apple cider, plum skins with lots of sourness, bretty funk, hay dust, wild berries, white pepper, lemon and lime, and oak.

T- Very sour and funky. Lots of brett. Sour plum skins, wild berries, lemons, granny smith apples, and some vinegar. Its very tart, sour and highly acidic.

M- Very tart, puckering, highly carbonated with lots of prickly bubbles that dont relent. The finish is drying and some what sugary.

D- Lots of carbonation. This one is giving me the burps. It fills you up easily and is very acidic. That hurts the drinkability.

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Photo of adamant1912
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

Photo of nkeckhar
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of MMBrew
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

Photo of techfed87
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the fourth release that Arbor Brewing's done of this particular brew.

My goodness, it really did take a good amount of force to get that cork off. I literally had to whack off the top portion of it to get it off. But now that that's done...

Pours a well off head. Color is a bit darker than what I was expecting. Particulate, maybe?

Smell reminds me of the other wild beers I've had, those being from Jolly Pumpkin and Leelanau Brewing.

First sip is...DING! They got it right, I was right, they definitely got it right! All of the flavor notes are there, all of the sourness that comes when you integrate wild yeast strains are there, drinkability's present and mouthfeel has taken a front row seat.

Having not had much success with other Arbor Brewing beers, I'm very pleased to say that this one has exceeded my expectations.

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Photo of Keiferfillinger
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Photo of decadance
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 and 2010 Velvet Hammer enjoyed from the bottle at CCTH during Kalamazoo Beer Week.

A - Both look brown, but 2010 is darker.

S - Not much sour acid on the nose, 2009 hints ar a fig nature, hints of sour, 2010 is a bit bland.

T - 2009 is like a sour porter, 2010 is like an oud brun. Niether are bad, but that taste very different. 2009 has a sour porter flavor, roasty, but slightly tart. 2010 has rich fruit notes, and just a hint of tartness. Seems like two differents beers entirely, prefer the 2009.

M - Not very lively, on either beer. But 2009 has more bubbly. Seems even here.

O - Not better than flamboyant, but good. Seems confusing though, as the beers seem different, Not bad, just weird.

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Photo of SRoseGR
4/5  rDev +6.7%

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Arbor Brewing Velvet Hammer from Arbor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 26 ratings