(512) Wild Bear
(512) Brewing Company

(512) Wild Bear(512) Wild Bear
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American Wild Ale
Ranked #1,431
Ranked #19,915
3.85 | pDev: 14.81%
(512) Brewing Company
Texas, United States
Very Good
(512) Wild Bear(512) Wild Bear
Notes: (512)'s first excursion into the world of so-called wild fermentation, Wild Bear's origins lie in our Fall seasonal, BRUIN. After primary fermentation, we added Brettanomyces yeast and Pediococcus bacteria cultures, and aged the blend in new oak barrels for over 10 months. This combination of wild "bugs" and barrel aging gives (512) Wild Bear a complex and enticing aroma of tart cherries, oak, and a touch of barnyard "funkiness", a crisp, tart flavor that will intensify with age, and an effervescent, oaky finish that leaves the palate clean.
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 92
Photo of Premo88
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

25.4 oz. bomber poured into tulip
(brewed Jan. 2015, bottled Sept. 2016 printed on label; also 8.5% ABV printed on label)

L: dark brown, clear, pushes up 1-inch head of beige foam on strong pour; it's dark and hard to see through but appears it may be clear ... crystal clear; dark amber-orange, burnt orange, almost into purple ... but, yes, it's light enough to see through it up to light, nice clarity; no major sticking or lacing but keeps a thick collar and most of a skin; about 10-15 minutes in, the skin disappears ... noticeably disappears ... but the collar is still hanging around; if this brew stuck and laced, it's be a candidate for a 5

S: tart toasted cranberries, fingernail polish remover -- those dominate, then way back there hiding in the shadows of the barn is a bit of previously wet grain sack now dried out ... not "clean" as in out of the washing machine clean, but clean as in it's not still wet and growing mold and mildew; might be the mildest but still distinct fingernail polish remover note I've come across -- it's *always* there, but it's never sharp or overpowering ... perhaps a better descriptor: lemon-raspberry

T: almost 1:1 following the nose with a minor adjustment -- a little more tart earthy flavor and toasted cranberries and a little less fingernail polish remover; as it warms and the palate adjusts, a bit of raspberry and blackberry, the more tart ones that haven't found their sweetness yet; as it warms more, some sweetness shows up just often enough to really make this tasty ... it's like those few grains of salt or sugar that bring out the flavors even more

F: lightweight but filled out by good carbonation ... very easy to sip but also easy to handle a midsize quaff; not watery but definitely light; perfect ... as good as my favorite American-made farmhouse ales and wilds with the bigger ABV in a lighter vessel

O: wonderful ... a treat of a beer for my particular tastes buds, for it's very reminiscent of a Flanders red or oud bruin with the nice toasted malt flavors blending into the sour flavors, and I love those styles and that mix; when those toasted cranberries offer up some sweetness, my goodness! you get some raspberry/blackberry flavor and want to start drinking it like it's a 3% kriek lambic. I will buy this beer over and over ... a perfect summer brew and a perfect "sour" fix whenever you want.

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Photo of BKotch
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Update based on the 2016 bottling. Ratings were previously based on the 2015 bottling. Coincidentally, I had a Rodenbach Grand Cru 750 last night (yeah, I know that's a Flanders red and this is based on 512's double brown). I'm raising the smell from 3.75 to 4.00, the flavor from 4 to 4.25, and the overall from 4 to 4.25. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age, but this is beginning to approach the classic Flemish beers.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown/black pour with a small tan head. Big sour aroma with a hint of dark fruit. Taste follows the nose perfectly. Tartness increases as the beer warms resulting in a nice sour finish.

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Photo of Mikeypnh
4.58/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

There are some shockingly bad reviews on this beer! I thoroughly enjoy it. Especially the nice pillowy mouthfeel. Some nice dark fruit flavors.. Even the smell is good and I've notice a lot of people weren't pumped on the aroma... Bad bottle maybe? I don't know. 9 percent is very smooth.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Foeder II: Brewed Apr 2013 / Bottled Feb 2015. Served cold into a goblet and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

Truncated notes below:

HEAD: Full and luscious, with good thickness and a nice even consistency. Good complexion. Creamy and frothy. Retention is average; this lasts for only 2 minutes. Leaves no lacing as it recedes. ~1 inch wide.

BODY: Oddly, it's an opaque solid black. Not an ink black or jet black, but rather dark. I see no yeast or hop sediment.

It's strangely dark for a sour, but the head is promising. Appears adequately carbonated.

AROMA: Has plenty of wild ale characteristics, with wild ale yeasts, an eclectic sourness which isn't limited to the usual lactobacillus - but rather showcases pediococcus shockingly well, faint oak barrel, and hints of muted cherry fruit. It does suffer a bit from a minor dampened cardboard note - giving it a musty and surprisingly dry aroma, but overall the pediococcus alone has me interested in this beer. It's more tart than sour, and it isn't even that tart; you'd think they'd commit more to that given the cherry note. In any case, I'd guess the sourness is around a 3/10 in terms of intensity just from the aroma.

Aromatic intensity is average.

TASTE: Pediococcus bacteria is in control here, giving it a mild sourness (~2/10 in terms of intensity) which sour fans will find wanting. Its 9% ABV is shockingly well concealed. The cherry is muted to its detriment, and it lacks sufficient tartness. Slightly acetic, though more of an acetic pie crust character on par with Rodenbach would do wonders. I find no brettanomyces funkiness. I'm doubting lactobacillus was used, but such usage would definitely improve this beer - both by giving it more sourness and by lending the mouthfeel a needed acidic smackiness.

The barrel is in the background, but it doesn't really integrate well into the base. The abovementioned dampened cardboard note does make an appearance - a byproduct of oversoaked oak wood. But the oak itself lends nothing to improve the beer aside from a weak generic musty wood note that I suppose lends the build some cohesion.

Not tart or sour enough to appease the discerning sour drinker, but the pediococcus is nice. Compared to the best beers in the style, it's rather shallow and simple, with a subpar balance. I do like it in a general sense, but it leaves much to be desired.

TEXTURE: Slightly acetic and definitely of above average acidity. Unrefreshing, medium-bodied, oddly dry and musty, and smooth. A sharper tangier more acidic feel would help complement the sour notes nicely, and a more smacky texture would help play up the pucker factor.

There's no harmony of texture to taste, but this isn't badly executed by any stretch. A bit overcarbonated, sure, but overall it does an okay job complementing the taste.

OVERALL: Not a bad first foray into wild fermentation, but way off the mark if 512 is hoping to compete with Jester King or even Real Ale in the Austin, TX market. I'll have no trouble finishing the entire 750ml bottle by myself, and I imagine that imperceptible 9% ABV will catch up to me. I wouldn't buy this again, especially at its extortionate price relative to its (lack of) quality, but it shows definite promise in terms of what we can expect from 512's wild/sour efforts in the future. I do have to ask - why weren't the brettanomyces yeast and pediococcus bacteria added during primary fermentation, instead of after?

B- (3.35)

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Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
1.68/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: poopy water with a penumbra of mucus-like foam
Aroma: a hint of old fig newtons that were lost in my pantry
Taste: at first, a cloying, rancid mixture of mollases and old coke. Kind of reminiscent of a White Birch beer. Finishes nicely with a bit of old sour fruit.
Mouthfeel: actually one of the better parts of this beer. A little slick but not unsettling.

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Photo of BgThang
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

the beer is a murky wild look to it. Glad I got to try this as it was extremely limited release.
The tast is funky with some sour notes. dark fruits and leather notes as well as some cherry notes and the oak comes through as well.
Medium body with medium to little carbonation levels.

THe beer has come a long way since it was released so long ago.

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Photo of drummermattie02
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared with some friends, bottle ? (knife etching in the wax was marred) out of 396.

Pours a murky brown with a half-finger white head that quickly subsides to a tight ring around the glass. Awesome label.

Aroma is great - cherries, oak and a pleasant tartness, maybe balsamic. Almost reminds of an oud bruin and set the bar very high.

Relative to the aroma, the taste is a disappointment. Absolutely though, the taste is pretty good. A somewhat-shocking lack of tartness/acidity, but still pleasant. Leather is present in the taste but not noticed in aroma, a bit of fruit in the finish, and more malt body than I was expecting. Very soft lactic (spit-thickening?) feel, carbonation is just right.

Overall a good beer, although the taste/aroma disagreement re: acidity/tartness was kind of a surprise. I would have preferred it to be more sour, but that may develop over time. Great effort from (512) - strongly suggest seeking this out if you are able.

Edit: had a third bottle recently, and this beer is starting to come into its own. Really didn't know what to expect after the first bottle a long time ago, but happy to see that a truly solid sour brown has developed.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy cranberry red with brown tones and a short white head.

The aroma has nice notes of citric plum, dark fruits, nice acid and a mild funky character.
A solid fruity character but no enough to make it soda pop like. A nice "wile ale/sour 101." This would be a great beer to bridge a person in to sours and wild ales.

Medium bodied with light carbonation and a light, but decent, acidic character. Not as sour as a "sour fan" would want but a very nice balanced brew.

Flavor profile was very "berry" and pleasant. Easy to drink but you knew you were drinking a wild ale and a "light" sour. Hints of apple vinegar but not sufficiently high as to detract.

Finish was light berry funk.

All in all a pleasant drink and a nice introduction to the brewery where we found ourselves for the 512 4th Anniversary party after a weekend of doing Austin's "thirteen best" BBQ joints!
I'm now a fan of 512. And, just to note, Austin is perhaps the friendliest and nicest city in the world - for real.

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Photo of dcloeren
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky brown with a finger white soapy head. Made its way to a ring of film pretty quick.

The aroma has nice notes of cinnamon, dark fruits and a little bit of funk.

Tastes like a funky rootbeer. Definitely more dark fruit forward with some subtle spice. THe funkiness is a nice touch. Definitely not world class but this is a solid wild ale for sure.

Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Not enough to really sting the tongue but enough to bubble up like pop rocks and pepsi with each sip.

Overal, this was a solid offering from 512 and I like where they are going with it. I would have liked to see some more sour/tart notes but this was still a very nice drinking beer. Definitely worth a shot

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Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this, Bobby.

Pours a brownish/amber color with a tan head. Smells slightly vinegary, as I sort of expected. Sweet bread and toffee malts are there. Some hints of dark fruit and a bit of oak/barrel aroma. The flavor has a nice tartness with notes of vinegar and cherries. A few other dark fruit notes in there as well as the sweetness of toffee malt. Not an overly impressive beer, but in no way bad or offensive.

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Photo of youkinorn
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark red-brown with a thin, quickly dissipating head that just persists around as a ring around the glass. Clearly not very viscous.

Smell: nothing too complex. Some decent funk and vinegar, background notes of some dark fruits – plum/prune and raisin, maybe?

Taste: Definitely mimics the nose. Nothing too complex but not unenjoyable, either. A bit too much of a balsalmic vinegar taste for me. A little tart, but very, very far from puckering. Fruit flavors come out a bit more as it warms up, as does the vinegar. Didn't get too much in the way of flavors from the wood. Just wish it had a little more going on, honestly.

Mouthfeel: Medium level of carbonation. A little thin, but not in a bad way. Pretty much as expected.

Overall: Not great, but certainly didn't mind finishing the bottle. Very happy I got to try it and glad (512) is getting some more interesting stuff out. Hope they keep it up.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Bottle shared by Bobby at Motel 6 post Strong Ale 2011 (day 1).

A: Ruddy dark brown with a small white head.

S: Lactic dark fruit with pronounced vinegar. I get plum and grape with a bready malt base. I detect a little chocolate as well.

T: Bread and toasted grain with a light nuttiness. Vinegar is tame and there's a little lactic sourness with a mild tartness. I get a little leather and oak.

M: Medium in body with high carbonation.

Overall: Somewhat simple but still enjoyable.

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Photo of kungpao
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pretty dark brown, head dissipates quickly.

S- Oak, brett, leather, cured tobacco, funk.

T- Leather, a little bit of funk, slightly acidic, oak, pretty complex.

M- Well carbonated, appropriate for style.

O- This beer maybe somewhat of a diamond in the ruff. Tons of potential but not as acidic as I was hoping for. With age this maybe a stellar beer, for now it falls flat.

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Photo of specksnreds
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown pour into the snifter. Translucent. Little head, but enough bubbles for me. I thought it'd be a gusher, but nay. Sweet malt vinegar with my nose in the glass and a bit of vinegar on the buds. Not a hop in sight(nose?). Love that sour taste with just enough sweetness to balance out the teeter-totter. Great this beer is, and I'm lucky to have procured my one bottle. I'd hit it again and again and again...

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Photo of MEsquandoles
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Waxed 750 mL at Black Star Co-op. Less than 500 released.

Their Bruin, Fall seasonal, 7.6% ABV big Brown Ale, barrel-aged with wild yeast and sour-causing bacteria for around a year. Sounds like an Oud Bruin.

Dark brown with ruby highlights, great head retention.

The aroma is of slightly soured cherries, raspberries, and blackberries; leather, tobacco; tropical fruits; American whiskey and red wine, oak. Really well-integrated. Awesome aroma.

Same as aroma, but not as elegant. A lot of red wine characteristics. Some chocolate and nuttiness too. Very dry. Earthy aftertaste.

Process, appearance, aroma, taste all make it an unique American rendition of an Oud Bruin.

Worth trying once, and again perhaps in the Spring.

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Photo of jhimstedt
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kevin Brand for grabbing me a bottle from Kevin pre-release! You guys are the best...

A - Brown, semi-opaque an somewhat cloudy/murky. Almost o head built of, thin lacing and halo round the glass

S - Great! Lactic, funk, leather, brown malt, some spice, slight smoke.

T - A lot less acidic than the nose suggests. Surprising lack of fruit. The malt and the yeast/bacteria pretty much carry all the flavor here. Funk, light tartness, not very sour, leather, spice and malt. Some smoke lingering on the finish. Little ash/char

M - Carbonation was moderate. Not overcarbonated or flat. Very dry thin body to this one.

O - Excited to see this glimpse into the souring of a beer. It has all indications of going in a great direction. The bottles should age well as i think the brett is far from done doing it's work. The two barrels they held back for further aging should progress into something very nice. Definitely recommend trying now and grabbing hold of a few to age...and of course anxiously awaiting the bottling of the other barrels.

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(512) Wild Bear from (512) Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 92 ratings