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: 368 | Ratings: 2,412
Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 750 ml bottle at the Trig's Cellar 70 in Wausau. This is 2016 release, and it's now about two months old. Poured right from the fridge into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a deep coffee/cola brown with about an inch of light khaki head that dissipates fairly quickly like soda down to nothing--no film, no ring, no lacing. At the edges where the light strikes through, the beer is a slightly ruddy golden brown.

S: The sour notes fairly well dominate the bouquet, with their apple cider vinegar tones. Underneath, and quite subtle, there are some roasted malt and coffee notes. Just a touch of chocolate coming through, as well.

T: Tons of sour right up front, with a white wine or apple cider vinegar quality to it. It's a bit arresting when you're looking for some semblance of stout there. Toward the middle, there's seems to be a bit of building citrus hop astringency, but it's difficult to tell with how intense the sour is. Moving toward the back, you begin to put up some of the fruit--I'm getting mostly cherry and raspberry--and traditional malt flavors. Even at the close, the malts take a backseat to the sour fruit, but it does finish with a bit of roastiness, along with the subtle vanilla and oak from the barreling. The aftertaste has lots of sour, and there's a lingering taste of chocolate-covered cherries left on the palate.

F: This one is medium-bodied with very low carbonation. It does have quite a creamy and smooth feel in the middle, but most of the sensation is that bright astringency. It leaves quite a wine-like impression.

O: I haven't had a lot of different sours, but this is certainly the first sour stout that I've tried. It's a very interesting marriage between the sharp sour notes and the earthy and roasty stout malt bill. It works much better than I thought it would. This one is so sour that it's definitely a sipper, and I would think it would work best as a digestif or dessert beer--I have a feeling it would be phenomenal paired to anything with dark chocolate. I don't know that it was worth the price I paid for this bottle, but I'm glad that I got to try it.

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Photo of frasergrove
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep dark brown, almost completely prohibits light to pass through. Has a large tan brown head upon pouring...but completely settles down to nothing. Aroma is delicious, notes of tart cherry mingles with light roastiness, cacao and brief vanilla. Very bracing tartness upon first sip...a huge blast of lactic acid. A smooth finish that has medium body. Definitely a tasty dark sour

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Photo of nawpnawp
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice black with minimal head and lacing. The smell is, as expected, very tart. It reminds me of sweet tarts. At first sip, it is very tart and sour. There is almost no stout taste when first sipped. However, as it warms up, the malty presence will be there in the sip and the lingering aftertaste. This is where it shines. I would recommend serving this on the warm side similar to a stout.

Generally, I don't like sours, but I love stouts. This combination works well for me and is really the only sour beer I would seek out to drink.

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Photo of yung_peli
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Very dark brown, reddish hues, slightly transluscent, mocha head that recedes quickly, no lacing
AR: Dark fruit, plum, chocolate
T: Follows nose, oak, lactic funk, roasty, hints of caramel, well balanced and good tart/sour factor, some bitter tannins on finish
M: Low carbonation, somewhat thin but rounded body

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Photo of ajm5108
4.71/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours pitch black with almost zero head or carbonation. Aroma emits lots of rich dark chocolate with a distinct undertone of tart berry (raspberry / strawberry / a little grape) & just the faintest earthiness from the oak. It smells decadent & inviting, like chocolate strawberry cake. The taste loses some of that stout backbone & really focuses on the tart berry flavor, especially upfront. It has just the right amount of tingliness for me, tart & sour but not lactic or vinegary. The chocolate malt comes in towards the end & helps even it out and finishes easy. Picked up a distant bourbon note as well from the barrel aging. Just enough to give the end character but not clash with the rest of the beer. A rare style done expertly.

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Photo of Mistamakkus
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The first soured stout I've had the pleasure of consuming. At first, a sour stout sounded absolutely horrendous, even though I'm a huge fan of both stouts and sours, but wow. This beer delivered. Very fruity and creamy up front, but as the acidic mouthfeel wears off, you get deep, roasty malt flavors on the back end. Starts like a good tart wild ale, finishes like a dark roasted stout.

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Photo of Jovial_Libations
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pour out of a 750 ml bottle into a glass. Pours dark with beige head, plenty of carbonation.

Smells sour and sweet with hints of oak. Tastes tarty and fruity, lot of citrus, blackberry. Perfectly balanced. Very refreshing.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.61/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Hits that dark brown appearance, looks clean inside. Small beige head goes away quickly. Aroma was wildly sour, wow, way up there on the 1-10 scale. Some roast behind that, a little bit of oak. Smells a little fruity, even though this isn't the fruited version.

The mouthfeel and taste are super sour and dry. Its not a thick ass viscosity stout. A real treat at under $20 for a bottle. Subsequent to its release, they came out with the even better cherry and vanilla version which gives more balance and complexity to the mouthfeel.

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Photo of JackieKu
3.62/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle.

A: Dark brown. Poured 2 fingers high of foam.
S: Tangerine. Black berries. Moderate chocolate.
T: Sharp sourness. Slightly roasty aftertaste. Dry. Low bitterness.
M: Medium body. Low carbonation.
O: The wildly sourness dominant the taste, unfortunately. I expected it would be more stout and oak centric but it's definitely not. The overall profile is actually similar to some Flanders Oud Bruin, not as special as the web page claimed. It also very pricey here, so disappointing.

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Photo of THSmusicman
4.89/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

750 ml. bottle poured into a Teku glass.

Look: Like a relatively low ABV stout, light shines through. The head is a half finger of off white, bubbles.

Smell: Wow! Smells sour! Smells like cherries, blackberries, raspberries, a bit of apple, a bit of oak and the stout shows up on the back end with a brown sugery, malty smell.

Taste: This beer is very tart! Picking up all of the fruits, the oak, a slight vanilla taste, and the roasted malts on the end of the sip.

Feel: Feels very smooth and almost creamy. I attribute that to the stout part of this beer. It goes down very smooth.

Overall: This beer is absolutely amazing! Definitely a top 5 for me. I was a bit off-put by the idea of a sour stout because I didn't expect either flavor to shine very well but this proved me very wrong! If you like mouth-puckering sours and stouts, you must grab a bottle of this!

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Photo of ta_hagen
4.93/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

By far one of my favorite's from The Bruery... The taste is very nice as well, malty, yeasty, very nice tartness, with some hints of chocolate, nice little funk. Medium body, with a very nice dry, slightly bitter finish. A dark fruit upfront, reminiscent of a fine stout, with a very nice, very sour finish. Overall, a great lovely happily tasty brew that will make you pucker with good tidings.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 Vintage
Bottled On: 6/22/15 #223
Bottle Conditioned
7.2% ABV

Poured into a chalice a very nice dark brown color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice small quick/fizzy/creamy light tan head, which does leave some small islands and sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, yeasty, funky, tart, with some nice chocolate, roastyness. The taste is very nice as well, malty, yeasty, very nice tartness, with some hints of chocolate, nice little roastyness, nice funk. Medium body, with a very nice dry, slightly bitter finish. Overall, a very tasty brew. I've never had a bad brew from them, but then again I've only had about 13 of them, so far.

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Photo of SteveB24
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Delicious beer. the nose is almost wine-like, filled with sour cherries, grapes, plums and a hint of spices, but with a very sour kick to it. the taste is very much like the smell. Dark fruit upfront, reminiscent of a fine stout, with a very nice, very sour finish. great beer.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Brasserie V in Madison, Wisconsin. Served in a goblet glass. Pours a dark brown body, opaque and almost black; befitting the stout designation. One finger offwhite head that dies down fairly quickly into a film that sticks around for a while. Smells of tart cherries and currants, dark chocolate, a bit of roast, mild barrel, cocoa. A bit on the tannic side. Flavour is great as well; more dark chocolate, cocoa, dark malt sitting up front with a decently hefty tannic acidity evoking lighter dark fruits, cherries, currants. Moderately sour, maybe a step above that. Very nice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation; a bit crisp but not too dry, very flavourful and easy to drink for my sour-adjusted palate. Not too sweet by any means. Fairly nice complex dark sour, easily obtained although a bit pricey for what it is.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a great, relatively easy to snag sour. One of my favorites from the Bruery in a whil.

Color is like mix of belted chocolate and cherry hues, dark red.

Nose is my one small complaint - there isn't much present to me to really clue me in to what to expect. Dark fruits and tart but nothing specifically striking.

The flavor is fantastic. Sour, dry, pucker is pretty big. Dark fruit flavors are huge - dry and bright both, like raisins and grapes, prunes and plums. The oak flavors are subtle but add a great rich texture.

Carbonation is spot on, great bitter to go with the sweet and sour aspects. It has a great depth of body but I wish that the finish was a bit longer on the flavors but that pucker is great.

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark cola with a full finger of matching sizzling, tan cola head. The nose is that same funky sour I usually get from a good Flanders. The sour really punches you in the mouth to start off. Late whispers of signature stout malt and richness climb on the back of the tartness and ride it out. The mouth is surprisingly clean. My first venture into this sour stout style and I love 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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Photo of Yabu
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Bruery

I'm barely getting into sour's.

The nose was great, I could smell the sour!

Very tart, yet a full body . I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I thought it was more Tart than last years version. (I had a bottle of ToD vintage 2014.)

Definitely a MUST if you are at the tap room.

The bottle at $19.99 is pretty worthwhile, provided you have at least a friend to share it with.

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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 SoCal_Matt
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage served in a Teku glass.

Appearance is very dark brown with a reddish tint on the edges. You can tell that it is has a good amount of carbonation as you pour it. Sour cherries on the nose with some roast and a bit oaky. Sour cherry dominates and it's mouth puckering - in a good way - with roasted stout and oak flavors underneath. Feel is medium bodied, highly carbonated, and crisp. Overall, this is an excellent beer, just know it is very, very tart.

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Photo of hophugger
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a surprisingly dark color, with a tinge of purple at the edges. Aroma is of fresh berries. Taste is very complex, with souriness, berries, cherries and a saltiness that is very nice. There is something at the end that resembles maybe caramel, but it is soothing and sweet. I will have to try this one again, as this beer is so complex, that I cannot get all of the flavors together, WOW !!!!!!!

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Photo of teromous
3.82/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The bottle has 6/23/15 etched into it.

Appearance: It is a dark brown beer that appears black in the glass with a fizzy but thick light brown head that is reminiscent of a rootbeer float. Some spotting on the glass but no real lacing. The head fizzes down to a thin sheet of foam very quickly, and eventually recedes into a ring with islands of bubbles along the surface.

Aroma: It has a very rich tart aroma. It smells like crushed sweet tarts and cherries. After smelling it for a while I start to pick up a light scent of alcohol and I actually get a bit of toasted caramel. The caramel scent is not very pronounced but it makes for a more interesting aromatic character. The dominant character is the tart souring fruit smell.

Taste: Extremely sour. This literally strips the skin from my palate. It is like sucking on a lemon and although it doesn't really taste like a lemon that is what this is the most similar to, for me. It's hard to really pin down an exact flavor to the beer because it is overwhelmed with sheer sourness but it does have an overall nice quality that contributes to what one might consider to be taste.

Mouthfeel: I think this has the mouthfeel that most people expect when they read "Tart of Darkness." It is not balanced at all. This is a one sided conversation between you and tartness and you are the recipient. There is a fair amount of mineral presence in the beer; a bit like limestone. The beer is definitely a sipper because of the strong sourness.

Overall: I was impressed by the beer. It delivers a good punch of sourness that sets the bar very high among its peers. I didn't get any roasted character from the stout base beer or any oak flavor. The bottle says "Dark - Roasty - Sour" and I feel like they could have omitted the "Roasty" part. I did enjoy it and I would recommend it to sour lovers. I don't think this would deliver anything special to stout lovers as the only contribution it made to my drinking experience was a darker appearance and a light bit of toasted caramel on the nose. It is an interesting an unique beer.

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Photo of MUTINY
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into my Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a nearly-opaque black with vibrant amber highlights around the edges when held up to bright artificial light. 3/4"light-tan head that recedes quickly. Retention is above average, lacing is poor.

S: Very mild overall. I primarily detect a promising amount of lactic tang along with some plummy & figgy fruit character. There is perhaps a milk chocolate note as well, with a slightly boozy anise quality. This is a much more muted nose than I was hoping for/expecting, although what's there is quite nice.

T: Comes on with a pretty strong lactic tartness that lingers into the mid palate. Mid palate features vinegar & a musty grape quality along with fairly pronounced oak. Underneath that, I'm finding overripe strawberry & cherry. The finish is again sharp & pleasantly tart with a bit more of an oaky anise quality. Not the deepest-flavored Bruery Sour that I've tasted, but it's definitely well-crafted & enjoyably tart.

M: Lowish-to-moderate carb married to a light, slightly creamy body. It's all rather appropriate given the flavor profile.

O: This brew is really rather enjoyable. The sourness brings a nice brute-force to an otherwise straightforward palate.

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Photo of Onemoresolo
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Oh boy! I'm really treating myself here. My first Bruery sighting in CT, had to give it a shot. Bottled on 6/23/15. Here we go!

Look: Tan head quickly dissipates into nothing. Beer is dark brown with ruby highlights

Smell: Sourness and roastiness dance together, complimenting each other more than I honestly expected. I'm getting sour cherries, strawberries, bitter dark chocolate, oak, dates; it's very vinous in an earthy way, like a fine Burgundy.

Taste: Follows the nose, with the addition of a cranberry/tart Pinot Noir flavor as well. That fades out into a deep chocolatey/roasty stout backdrop with a lovely oak aged balsamic aftertaste. Yes, some people will read balsamic and think of it pejoratively. If you've ever had real, barrel aged balsamic, you'll know that I mean that description in the best way possible. The stout base becomes more prominent as the beer warms up, but it's delicious all the way from cellar temp to room temp.

Feel: Thicker than the gueuzes I've been drinking, but this definitely isn't Ten Fidy motor oil status. For the style, this is perfect. It's medium bodied, which lays a perfect backdrop for the acidity to work its way through my whole mouth.

Overall: I know these reviews read like a crazy Robert Parker Wine Advocate review, but this sort of beer definitely deserves deep contemplation. I wasn't sure what to expect with this beer, but it definitely delivered here. It wasn't cheap, but I'll definitely snag another sometime in the future.

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Photo of makeyourself
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 edition from bottle.

Poured into a small brandy snifter. The smell of course is more sour than it is stout. The look is more of a dark almost reddish sour and it not your typical pitch black stout. The taste first start off with the classic sour taste where its gives off a tart vibe. As you continue to drink the sip, it finishes off as stout and you get the stout characteristics at the end. ToD is for sure more sour than stout in almost every category. The only stout characteristic this beer has is the finishing taste you get from a sip and maybe the dark color that it gives off. I did notice as the beer got warmer, the stout finishing taste was more prevalent. Overall this is a great tasting beer and ecstatic that this can be found every right now.

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Tart Of Darkness from The Bruery
4.16 out of 5 based on 2,412 ratings.
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