Tart Of Darkness | The Bruery

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Tart Of DarknessTart Of Darkness

Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Batch 2 was aged in spent Black Tuesday barrels.

Added by ajcobb24 on 06-22-2011

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Reviews: 371 | Ratings: 2,422
Photo of cpetrone84
1.52/5  rDev -63.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Pour is purplish black with a soapy ring. Nose is heavy sweetness, disoriented malt sugars and berry sweetness with a light leathery brett presence. Taste is awful, strong acetic acid and extreme residual sugar with tons of malt sweetness. Virtually no stout flavors other than too sweet, finish is bretty and bitter with high acid levels and a slick oily feel. Rough drain pour.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
1.98/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

2013 vintage

The beer that made me realize, I do not like this whole sour beer fiasco.

A - 4.5 - Poured an incredibly dark brown, pretty much to the point of jet black in color. Formed a half finger of quickly dissipating, medium tan colored head. Extremely weak head potential and retention. Nonexistent lacing.
S - 2.75 - Acid. Tons of acidic, tart cherry and white grape. Wine, vinegar, and perhaps an EXTREMELY distant malty aroma.
T - 1 - Good god, I could barely stomach a few sips, let alone drink an entire glass. Extremely acidic grape and vinegar, fades into a somewhat malty finish. The malt combined with the vinegar and tart grape creates the taste of what I can only describe as a combination of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Horrid.
F - 3.5 - Medium body.
O - 1.5 - I guess some people are really into this whole sour beer craze, and I can imagine there's probably a huge following for this type of beer, but for ME, I'd rather spend a fraction of the cost and get myself a bottle of vinegar and a bottle of soy sauce. Has definitely opened my eyes to the fact that I am indeed not a sour drinker.

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Photo of JonBarrowman
2.07/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I got this as my first sour beer so please keep that in mind in relation to what follows.

a - It appears opaque and a little cloudy around the edges.

s - Smells like a wine, with a slight vinegar smell and a mix of other things I can't put into words.

t - This is where I have a problem, it tastes like vinegar, I don't know if there was a stout or cherries in there somewhere but I didn't find them. It was somewhat unpleasant.

m - Nothing I can think of.

This is my first sour beer and was certainly not what I expected after reading reviews here. Maybe someone can recommend something more amenable as an introduction into the world of sour beers for someone hesitant to try and select on their own again.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
2.17/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared a bottle with BHOBS and Alucard4

Look: Black as night with a 1/4 tan head and no retention

Smell: Right off the bat are hints of sour cherry not really what I am looking for in a stout. If you search hard enough you will find hints of chocllate malt and some oak

Taste: The sourness that is overpowering hides all of the characteristics of a stout. All you pick up is the sour cherry it is a one way street in my opinion as far as taste goes. The taste is not bad but it is in no way a stout

Mouthfeel: Very water for a stout with a medium amount of carbonation

Overall: If you go in thinking this is a stout you will be let down because this is essentually a sour made with black patent or chocolate malt or roasted barley. It looks like a stout and that is about it. If you are a fan of sours you will appreciate this beer.

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Photo of Givemebeer
2.42/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle share. Poured into a snifter with high hopes.

A: Looks ok. Deep, dark amber color with a small tan head not much lacing.

S: Sour. Apple, pear.

T: Excuse me, but isn't this a sour stout? Where are the roasted malts? Where's the coffee? Chocolate? The sour taste is nice but the wild yeast completely takes over and smacks you in the face leaving no room for the so called "stout."

M: Too thin. When I think stout - I want something full bodied and thick. Not watery like this is.

O: Disgraceful. Don't call this a sour stout and charge $23 a bottle. If this were a regular sour I could understand but this was devoid of any stout qualities. Ridiculously overpriced. Pass on this for the love of God.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
2.5/5  rDev -39.9%

25.4 oz Bottle.Dark brown poured into a 20 oz Firestone glass.Smells like Berry and Vinegar.Very strong wine taste to it.I wanted to like this so bad because I had heard so many good things about it but to me the flavor was just Nasty.Extreme SOUR taste was so present that I could not get around it to decide what the other flavors were.Made it through about 3/4 through the bottle and then it became DRAIN POUR.And at 19.99 a bottle that hurt.If you like wine this might be better suited for you.But for me I can`t recommend it to a Beer drinker.Needless to say I will not be buying this anytime soon.Sorry Bruery.Thumbs down.

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Photo of snegopady
2.56/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer LOOKS beautiful, but I dunno, guys. I like funky and I like sour; loved the Oude Tart. But this is Warheads sour. If there was ever a stout in there, it has vanished beneath the aggressive, lemon-juicy sourness. I don't see how anyone could call this "balanced"--the sour is so strong that it takes over everything. Seriously, you could make vinaigrette with just this beer and some olive oil.

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Photo of maximum12
2.68/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Shared by the trio of DalzAle, MatSciGuy, & ArminJewell, thanks guys. This is one I haven't see in the wild yet.

Pour is dark brown shading into black. Smells like a fruit-infused beer, not much else.

Tart of Darkness isn't my cup of tea, though I was in the minority. Mild roast faces off against the red fruit tartness & is quickly subsumed. The stoutishness is in full retreat almost immediately, & by the time the beer warms, this is a full-on bug beer. Not interested in more than a couple ounces.

Just didn't do anything for me; my first taste of a 'soured' stout & if this is representative of the style, it might be the style, not this specific beer, that just doesn't agree with me.

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Photo of Dennoman
2.83/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle from a trade, shared with the guys. Great evening again! 2012 bottling, so not the Provisions Series.

A: Looks adequate for a stout. Nice and dark, light frothy head.

S: Very interesting. The biggest thing I get from the smell is charred toast. And I mean charred, not just burnt. Best described as a mix between toasted bread and charcoal.

T: Mostly acidity throughout most of the actual taste and swallow, but slight malty bitterness pops up at the very beginning. Not hugely complex, even slightly unpleasant.

M: Chalky, quite unpleasantly sour.

O: I guess this is a perfect manifestation of the morbid American fascination with all things sour. In this case (gratuitous pun inbound!) I guess it all turned a little sour. All in all a little too extreme for what I think they were going for. Good effort, but that's just about everything I can say really.

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Photo of imscotty
3/5  rDev -27.9%

A: Pours dark brown and opaque. The a light tan head forms and dies.

S: The tart sour aromas are evident from across the room. Not getting much else than musky sourness.

T: Wow, very tart and acidic. Has a very dry finish leaving a sensation in your mouth like when you drink unsweetened cranberry juice. Not much malt, hop or other stout characteristics that I can detect. Super sour.

M: Light bodied, modestly carbonated with a super dry finish.

O: This bear is too sour for me. I enjoy sours but I am looking for other flavors too. This might be a fun refresher on a hot hot summer day, but I could not drink this in quantity. Honestly after a half-pint the acidity was getting to my stomach and I drain poured the rest. I do not understand why beers like this are almost always found in bombers, in smaller quantities I might have some interest, but this is just too much.

Sorry if my score seems too harsh. This beer is not badly executed for what it is, but it is just not for me. It would like to have seen the sourness glanced with some stout characteristics.

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Photo of beertunes
3.01/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Shared with OKComputer. Poured into tulip. Poured a mostly solid black, some cloudy reddish-brown at the edges, color with just a thin cap of off-white head that had low retention and lacing.

The aroma had a nice tartness at the front that quickly gave way to to a light fruit scent. The beer had a very low, almost unnoticeable, malt aspect. Kind of a flaw in a Stout, IMHO. Pretty similar on the tongue, nice tartness upfront, some fruit in the middle, and very low malts at the back, alongside the sharp finish.

The body was very thin, especially for a Stout, but did have a clean, dry finish. Drinkability was good, the beer went down smooth and easy. Overall, a pretty nice brew, but probably not worth the $21+tax price tag. Probably worth trying, but that will depend on your wallet.

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Photo of charlzm
3.06/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Consumed from a recent vintage bottle on November 17th, 2014. Poured into a Bruery tulip (hey, proper glassware!). Serving temperature: 50 degrees F.

Beer pours more or less black. A heavy pour is required to coax a head out of this brew. The resulting half-finger of off-white foam does not stick around long and soon the glass is totally bereft of all traces of a head. No legs in evidence. Beer is very still in glass.

Aroma is sour cherries. Period, full stop. I really didn't get anything at all from it but an acidic sour fruitiness.

Flavor is tart (surprise!). Think of Popeye and that's probably what I looked like drinking this. Aside from the assertive, acidic sourness, there is a very mild note chocolate from the dark malts. Low/no bitterness. The flavor is very one-dimensional, though no flaws are in evidence.

Mouthfeel is still and slightly thin.

I'm surprised by all the love for this beer. I found it to be drinkable but not much else. If the stout character was more evident, then this beer may have been more interesting. As it is, I finished the bottle myself but I don't think I'll be buying this one again.

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.06/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A bomber bottled on 5-8-12 (approx 9 months old). Lot 35. Purchased for $21.79.

A- Pours thin black and opaque with little to no head (tan).

A - Tart, sweet with a little funk.

T - Initially I got that taste you get when you have a bad burp and some stomach acid makes its way into the back of your throat. Sour, acidic and dry.

MF - Smooth

O - A huge disappointment. Drain pour for the remainder of the bottle. Roasted malts - No! Stout - No! Bottle says suitable for aging up to 3 years. I might try it again, but as a taste and only at three years.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.19/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours black. Not pitch black, but black. Head was initially a robust 2 finger of tan colour, dissipating very quickly to nothing. Ends up being this still, black, uncarbonated-looking beer. It's still carbonated, but just, well, still. The aroma is unique. Though, it takes a good bit of inspection to draw it out. Of course, it's tart and sour. Not profusely though or over the top. There is some subtle oak notes and if you really dig, some roasty and mild stout characters. The taste is just one dimensional to me. I don't mind the sour notes, but beyond that, there just wasn't much there. Tart, sour, acidic, pears, apple skins.... it just doesn't develop really beyond that. Lets face it, it's light in body. It doesn't even have an American Stout type light body. It's thin, almost watery. I know it's technically a wild ale, but the base stout should come through.

This was just disappointing to me. It julfilled it's sour obligations, but didn't do anything to expand upon that aspect. Meh.

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Photo of badun
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

I was excited to find this beer locally as I love sours and the taste potential of a full-bodied stout made me willing to pay twice what I'd normally say is my limit for a beer (I paid $20). I opened it on Christmas Eve, intending to share it with my brother-in-law (who is willing to try anything but is much less adventurous than me when it comes to beer). I took one sip and knew that he was going to reject it! In short, this beer is nothing but strong tartness. It is to most sours what citric acid is to a ripe orange. From the same family, but not the same.

I made a sour of my own a few years ago and it was very similar in taste to this beer. Except that it didn't cost me $20 a bottle. Ultimately my disappointment is due to the high price of the beer (and thus high expectations) and the optimistic labeling that implies more stout flavor than I was able to get out of it.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to ipa247 for this one. 750ml capped bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303

Thin light mocha colored head with little retention. Beer is opaque black. Lacing is stringy and spotty with decent stick. Average for the style.

Smoky and slightly tart with roasted malt, lacto, and some dark fruit. Appropriate.

Opens dark cherries with some smokiness and liquorice. Very sour. Roasted malt tartness towards the middle and ends cherry puree. Filmy, sour aftertaste with some dark chocolate notes mixed in.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. A bit thin. Prickly and sharp in the mouth. Filmy going down. Long, lingering aftertaste. Nice and crisp.

Overall what I'd expect from a dark sour. Some smokiness and dark fruit. Nice complexity with a solid feel. Decent but really not my favorite style.

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Photo of Extol
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Appearance - dark purple sort of color. Smell - grape scent. Taste - tart bomb. But tastes like grape medicine. Kind of gross. Not what I expected. Overall - only drink if you like grape medicine, I wouldn't get this again.

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Photo of taylor714914
3.34/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours a thin black color, mixing deep browns in with it with no head


Smells lactic and slightly roasted as well as a hint of astringency. 


Taste is interesting.  Out of the bottle, this was a completely one dimensional beer.  On tap, it is a 1.5 dimensional beer.  It starts with lactic sourness, fades dark roasted grains, and then finishes with an apricot like finish.


Mouthfeel is a little too carbonated for my preference.


Overall, a highly overhyped overrated beer  7 bucks for a 6 ounce pour, or 25 bucks a 750?  No thanks.  This is not in the same league as other sours deserving that price.  I just don’t understand the Burery hype? Overpriced and under delivered.  I think this beer was done as a sour mash and not with bacteria and wood aged.  I think this would have been a crazy awesome beer had it been done like a traditional sour in wood barrels, but the layers of flavor and complexity are missing for me. 

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Photo of djs467
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2013 Vintage 750mL bottle.

A: Black night dark with a decent head and good retention
S: Sour apples and oak.
T: Sour, sour, sour, sour, sour and also sour.
M: A little bit thin and fizzy for a stout, but not for a sour, so I'm not sure what to expect here. I am assuming the base beer is a stout and then soured, so I am not sure why the body is thin.
Overall: An interesting beer and certainly one-of-a-kind, but it's not balanced enough for me. It's probably the most sour beer I've had in quite some time and the stout flavor profile is unrecognizable. If you like your sours to be sour and unbalanced, this is your beer.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A dark otter-brown pour yields flat black results in the glass accompanied by a healthy 2 figner khaki colored head that was frothy and clumpy. Retention was good, the lacing was clean and the visible carbonation was light and slow along the edges.

S: The smell of sour cherries and sour plums were noticeable on the nose. Some sour chocolate malt with a light strength was also present. A faint sour-acetic hint can be had towards the finish.

T: The flavor was highly acetic from the get go, major eye squinting material. Had thier flanders the previous night and it was no wheres near this level. This is a kick of vinegar and acetic nature that unfortunately drowns out most of the other aspects this beer may have had to offer. Am i wrong to assume that this was some kind of sour stout? the lack of roasted maltiness and body will tend to convince me otherwise. Some sour fruitiness, but the stout qualities are far my expectations and almost non-apparent. Flavor is thin, like watery lemon juice and every bit as sour.

M: Oily slickness thins out to a watery vinegar-lemon juice feel toward the end. No carbonation, just a healthy helping of sourness and acetic nature.

O: Not going to lie this is one hard bastard to down by one's self. Like sucking down 24oz. of lemon juice. Its level of sourness is balls to the wall but its range of flavor and stout qualites leave much to be desired. Like dropping lemon juice into a schwarz bier. Thier Flanders was a fine example, managable sourness and exceptional to style, this was a sour with a misleading stout labeling. Your gonna have to split this with a friend, or two, or three.

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Photo of smonice
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my first review and unfortunately it isn't a good one. I bought this bottle after reading all of the hype just to give it a try. I guess when I read tart, I thought it wasn't going to completely overpower the "beer" taste.

As soon as it my mouth, it felt as if I had a mouth full of those sour warhead candies. It lingered for a few seconds and then the finish was rather smooth. At that point I couldn't taste anything else but the tartness. I guess it is an acquired taste.

A: Very dark color with little head and lacing.

S: The smell was very good and did not prepare me for the tartness to come.

T: Super sour up front and mellow at the end.

M: Moderate carbonation.

O: Not my thing but definitely opened my eyes to a different class of beer.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of dirtylou
3.41/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, split

appearance: served in my delirium chalice, dark mahogany body, active carbonation - beige bubbles, light lace

smell: dry roast, sour metal, tart sugars

taste: The sour stout phenomenon (not quite...) is not something I really support - the flavor profiles just dont mesh on my palate. Tart of darkness brings it with the puckering effect, but the dry chalky roast is just not palatable.

mouthfeel: sour, dry

overall: just not my thing

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. Batch 2 (2012) from the super awesome Black Tuesday barrels. Big thanks to bigsippin for helping this get to me.

3.0 A: Black color. Two and a half fingers of foamy tan head. Retention is below average as it quickly fizzes away and no lacing is left. Edit: Strange enough, the final pour with lots of yeast made really sticky lacing.

3.5 S: Tart and moderately acetic nose. Big cherry component along with mixed berry. Balsalmic vinegar with tangy lactic funk. Light roastiness. Not a lot of the more typical funk components overall though. No basement or barn. Rather, this is more fruity and vinegary. The Black Tuesday comes out as this warms up. You can detect the residual leathery bourbon and chocolate.

3.5 T: Like the nose, this is all about fruit and vinegar. Loads of tart cherries and berries. Balsalmic vinegar and vinous tart grape. Some tangy funk, moderate roastiness, and hints of coffee and chocolate. Again, not a lot of traditional funk. Oak with just the slightest hint of tannins.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Not really creamy at all. Reasonably smooth considering how acetic it is.

3.5 D: I'm starting to feel that the Bruery should start making artisanal vinegars instead of wild ales. Most of the stuff they make is acetic acid-forward. While still good, I'm more of a fan of complex funk (which is why I choose 3F over Cantillon most of the time). In any case, I'm glad I have a few more since this will definitely scratch the acetic sour itch that I get occasionally.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Devil's Den in Philadelphia.

Tart of Darkness pours out a very black color, not jet black but black enough. A good skim of tan bubbles forming a smooth cap up top, some sticking on the glass surprisingly. The scent is pretty straight forward, some roast and some bugs, I don't pick up any oak or the such, just lacto and the guys. Small traces of cocco and tootsie roll with warming and some faint malt. Wow, this is a sour beer, I thought this would be easy, yet the sour is pumped up. I get a lot of lactic feeling with some berry, blackberry, roast malt, cocco, tootie roll etc. While sour, it's not an integrated sour that leads to a satisfying finish. I get battery acid on the tounge with tartness, small relief from the small stout base. Body is a step up from light. Eye opening. While I appreciate the effort and base style used in this, I just could not drink a ton of it.

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Photo of floridadrift
3.49/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black with light brown head. Beyond the obvious sour notes, the taste lingers with slight bitterness to it. Smooth mouth feel and easily drinkable. An imperial sour stout at its finest. A crowd pleaser for the stout and sour guy.

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Tart Of Darkness from The Bruery
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,422 ratings.
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