Cuvee De Tomme | The Lost Abbey

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Cuvee De TommeCuvee De Tomme
Cuvee De TommeCuvee De Tomme

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Blended dark strong ale with sour cherries aged in American oak and French oak red wine barrels.

Once upon a time it was the most award winning Pizza Port beer of all time. Now it has found a new home at The Lost Abbey.

A massive brown ale base that is made from four fermentable sugars including malted barley, raisins, candi sugar and sour cherries, this beer is fully-fermented before being placed in bourbon barrels where the beer ages for one year with the sour cherries and the wild Brettanomyces yeast that we inoculate the barrels.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 421 | Ratings: 1,254
Photo of Goldorak
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Nasty! Sludgy brown, explosive diarrhea, with a couple of bubbles. At least it didn't have any protein chunks, it would have scored even lower! It reminds me of every time I go to the States and eat American junkfood, Taco Bell for instance, I always get the runs, like my body rejects it and decides to give my colon a backwash as punishment. That's why I stick to places like Whole Foods, although the attraction is just too great and I always end up caving in! Anyways, you get my point, back to the Beer.

Smell: Well maderized, roasted pecans, cherries macerated in that spicy vodka who's name escapes me, it was like NG Belgian red on cristal meth. I even smelled a bit of curry in there! Whoh!

Taste: Excellent body, the cherries and acidity make a wonderful balancing act, the murky, yeasty funk is there and the alcohol is solid and warming at the end. Really not much to look at, but if you can look beyond that it's a phenomenal Beer.

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Photo of Jredner
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oak and red wine as well as some bourbon notes. Dark amber in color with a large fluffy head. Sour fore that tastes like a stab at bourbon vinegar. There is a whole basket full of fruits making appearances here, but the acidic sourness dominates the flavor profile. The overall feel is smooth though and it is a beer that compels you to keep sipping.

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Photo of rowew
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 750 ml corked and caged. Black label - this is from the batch brewed at Russian River. Nice description of the brewing process and the beer.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown color with a nice thick off-white head. Head leaves a thick lacing on both the top of the beer and the glass.

Smell: Very sour aroma - smells more like a wine than a beer. Earthy, with hints of fruit and vanilla.

Taste: Medium bodied with a low carbonation level. Very smooth mouthfeel. Starts off sour, with a very tart taste blending into more smooth vanilla and fruit. Very well balanced.

Overall impression: Highly drinkable and dangerous - lots of complexities here that are beyond my reviewing skills. Definitely a great example of an American brewers attempt at a Belgian style.

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Photo of SwillinBrew
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A bronzy mohogany, mud brown color fills my glass with a small oatmeal color head that doesnt last too long.
S - Liquor and brandy scents waft up leading to faint sweat malt and maybe plums and cherry pie.
T - Damn this is good. A tanginess of brett with very slight barrel qualities... not overpowering the brew thank god. These give way to wet hay and a sweet balsamic/port reduction sauce. Very good.
M &Dr - a little over medium on the tongue and rather complex, well rounded, thick but crisp beverage. I have to have more of this.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2009, enjoyed on August 31, 2009: This year's is much more tart and bitter than I remember from the '08 a few months ago. I expected the younger version to be big on bitterness but not that vineous, tart cherry character. Though not as rounded with the rise of the raison and softer, sweeter tones abounding; this is still one world class sour. My scores reflect this latest vintage.
Thanks JMBSH!

Vintage 2008, enjoyed on June 12, 2009: Again, an insanely good beer. All of the comments from three years ago still apply (see below) but I notice a great showing of raisons, cherries, bourbon-soaked woods, caramels, and even chocolates. Extremely delicate for such power. Vineous and rich throughout. I've never been more sad to see the bottom of a glass. Thanks Clvand0!

Another jewel available at Chicago's FoBAB last weekend. Colored the belgian mohogany-rust color with little 'floaties' swimming around in there. Lightly fizzy head retention reduced to a film. Aromas are solid, spicy of the Belgian Trippel base but with some serious tartness and fruitiness. Musky, but not yet horse blanket like. Low level sweetness gives way to tart cherries, grapefruit, peaches, and pears. A mild nutty, cocoa, dates sweetness rounds off the lactic sourness to a pleasant tartness. A thin, yet creamy, texture thins into the throat. Mildly puckering, but not astringent or grainy. Warming in the back of the throat accompanies some bittering. Finishes clean and tart. Not as drying as expected. My first Pizza Port offering did not disapoint!

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.89/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was given this bottle as a gift from Venom. Thanks a lot man!

I am sampling a chilled bottle in a snifter that I am sharing with my new wife, mom-in-law, and bro-in-law. Perfect opportunity to open a special bottle of beer!
The brew pours a dark and cloudy mahogany color some small, white sediment chunks are suspended in my glass. There is a small beige fluffy head of 1 cm that remains as a surface layer throughout.
Aroma is deep and complex with fruity cherry, boozy whisky notes, some oak, a little raisin and dark fruit, and a general funkiness. Very appealing to me and all who are trying this beer with me.
First sip reveals a very smooth yet thick body with mild carbonation. The brew reveals little of the alcohol up front.
Flavor is rich and fruity with cherries and dark fruit mixing with wooden oak notes, similar to licking a popsicle stick, and again whisky/bourbon notes come through on the end. I also get just a hint of dry cocoa powder at the start of each sip. Overall the beer is mildy sweet and funky. The alcohol barely makes a notice with just a hint of warmth on the finish in the back of my throat. Also the general happiness of the group at the end of the bottle hints that there was some booze consumed!
This was a definate treat of a beer and I am indebted to Venom for the opportunity!

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Photo of meathookjones
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black label with the big C, no foil. Pretty dark cola color with a tall light tan head, which fell quickly leaving some webbings of lace. Big woody notes come out in the aroma with a strong tartness. There are some noticeable sour cherry notes with a hint of sweetness. Seems like I pick up a faint chocolate smell in there as well. Very interesting aroma. Flavor starts off with a big sour cherry that is sweet at times. Plenty of wood in the flavor as well. No sign of the huge 12% alcohol here. Vinous notes and some funkiness play well also. Plenty of little complexities going on with this one that keep it interesting. Mouthfeel is smooth and surprisingly drinkable. Very unique and flavorful beer that I enjoyed a lot.

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Photo of weeare138
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to hopdog for this...
Appears looking like a merlot. No head or lacing is left but it definitely looks interesting.
Smell is awesome. Lots of brett with an oakiness, rasperries, and vinous aromas.
Taste is very vinous with raspberries and sour cherries coming through.
Mouthfeel is sour but slowly fading and pleasant and unique.
Drinkability...I love this, especially the aroma.

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Photo of ZAP
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Burgundy color…regal apperance…soft little tan head…Wood, earthiness, soft cherries and sweet bourbon on the nose…first taste impression is tart cherries…mellows into a smooth bourbon soaked cherry flavor….a lot of booze in this…nice sipper…nice tartness without puckering up your mouth entirely…some very nice components…nice treat…thanks go to Long Beach Bum via Big Hugey for the chance to try this hard to find classic.

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Photo of SCW
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


I don't think I ever had a beer that had such a dominating oak flavor.

Don't get me wrong, I like oak. But the oak DOMINATED.

My sample poured a turbed burgundy color with a minimal whisping of head that quickly dissipated in my goblet glass.

The aroma was mostly and earthy oak smell. Deep, robust, and overpowering. Just a faint whiff of malty sweetness and some cherries in the background

The taste was an abundance of oak. However, the oak did not seem to contribute in the traditional vanilla and soft floral tones. This oak flavor was sharp and pronounced and did not distinguish itself from the alcohol.

The mouthfeel was moderately carbonated and medium-bodied.

Overall, rather drinkable, once you get used to the OAK.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with LuckySevens82. Thanks for the opportunity... Corked and caged.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed 1 1/4" of airy tan head over the deeply burgundy brew. Head lasts well due to brew's effervescence, and lacing is heavy and frothy. Aroma is fermented cherries, with a creamy vanilla tinge to it. Taste is dominated by the sour cherries, then goes into lots of oaky barrel character, and closes with some alcohol warming. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both great. Interesting brew here, pretty much defies logical description from me.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Gold Foil (North Vineyard)
Hand Bottles #CUNU40

Presentation: 750ml green flask bottle with a wrap around label which has a picture of four stillaged wooden barrels arranged around a large hourglass which in turn has a pocket watch sliding through the middle, in front of all of this are four piles of luscious red cherries. Simply called ‘Cuvee de Tomme’ and listed as 11.5%. The reverse of the label explains that this creation is a bold Belgian Style Ale that is a blend of 4 sources of fermentable sugars, American oak, sour cherries and 3 separate stains of Brettanomyces. 2003 marks the 5th Anniversary of Cuvee de Tomme.

Appearance: I decided, for some strange reason, still unbeknown to me, to use a Glenlivet Whisky Glass for this. Like a fine claret, the clear burgundy body shimmers when backlit, yet it exhibits some mahogany when laid to rest on my desk in the twilight. On the pour a small amount of translucent dark brown reddish skinned bubbles quickly form but they are only ever one bubble deep. The soapy bubbles have a tainted appearance, yet no color; they slowly dwindle to leave an utterly smooth stagnant surface and no lacing whatsoever. Oddly enough the short & wide dimensions, and the heavy base, of the Glenlivet Glass somehow added class to this one, as though it needed it. The last third of the bottle pours like a fine Wine.

Nose: Oh yeah baby! Lick my cherries!!……holy wow, lots of sourness in the acidic nose, vinegar soaked cherries litter the nose with some alcohol tinges. Wild yeasts with a Wallonian Brune and a Flanders Red dimension punctuates the middle. Acerbic cherries and high end alcohols, tart and complex in the finish. Utterly inviting.

Taste: Dry sour cherry skinned start that has a stripping feel on the enamel of your teeth. Tart brown tannins coat the tongue, and a rasping wet tea bag feel licks the cheeks along with wet oaky wood chips. Funky Brett is detectable, but it is extremely low key, and has more of a supporting role rather than front line presence. The ending huge, hard to forget once sampled, yet it is hard to describe at times. Complex to say the least.

Mouthfeel: OK, it says 11.5% on the label…..hmmmm, it is 11.5%...yes, it IS 11.5%...IT *IS* 11.5%!! it really is…..SHITE it’s 11.5%!!!!...doesn’t come across as such. Somehow the complex nature of this high quality brew completely evaporates the entire issue of alcohol; it’s not even on the agenda. No burn but some warmth. Even without carbonation, this Cuvee projects a *huge* body in the mouth.

Drinkability: The massively complex body is thoroughly enticing; glass, after glass, after glass, after…….Hey, who was it who said drinking lots of good beer is like masturbating; most of us do it, and secretly enjoy it, but rarely talk about it for fear of projecting the wrong image. That’s how I feel right now. I think that I know that I should feel guilty about drinking a whole 750ml bottle of this to myself, shouldn’t I???

Overall: Fuck me, I really love this stuff…….so damn awesome, so lovely, so complex, so adorable, yet so unique….so…well, just so Tomme Arthur & Pizza Port. Much dryer, more acidic and better than the Silver Foil (South Vineyard) I think. I really don’t think I can wait much longer to crack my lone bottle of the recently released ‘Black Label’ Cuvee de Tomme which I was lucky enough to pick up whilst passing Solana Beach last month.
Damn, I knew I should have got more :’-(

As the Irish would say, “Saints Forgive Us”……

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Photo of erica
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OK, Same deal as with the MOAB, Mr. LBB so graciously drove me out to Solana Beach (among many other places), which is where I got this bottle. It was the latest batch, the one with no foil, done at Russian River and all that.

This beer, when opened, was way too excited to get out of the bottle, it reminded me of Oer Bier, which also always gushes out for me, I imagine the yellow Oer Bier man is in there and is really anxious to get out really fast; maybe this was Tomme trying desparately to race out of the confines of the small 750ml bottle, barely being caught into several glasses before finally calming himself. The beer was tea-coloured, a slightly red-brown with a light tan fluffy head that, after the initial explosion, settled rather quickly to just a thin covering. The first thing that hit my nose was ALCOHOL. Very very alcoholic aroma, followed by cherries and a teeny bit of vanilla hiding in the background. Tasted not as alcoholic as it smelled, it was a bit oaky, very fruity with tart cherries in the forefront, very desirable in my opinion, along with other dried fruits like apricots, plums and grapes. I got a very roasted, almost too bitter aftertaste, but not really off-puttingly bitter. I really really liked this beer, it made me smile big, which was a difficult feat, considering I drank this after my first day back at work from a week-long gorgeous California vacation. But this did the trick, it made me smile. Mouthfeel was hot, and by hot I mean HOT. I felt this beer, Tomme if you will, going down the whole way, it was that warm. Cozy almost. Drinkability is very good because of the smiley cherry goodness, despite the slightly over-alcoholic feel to it. In the end it gave my tongue a tingly sensation, by the end of my glass- yes, I only had half a bottle of this, I felt quiet tingly, almost into my fingers even. It was quite nice and snuggly, and I'm oh so happy I got to try it. Good times. :)

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle direct from MJ's Rare Beer Club. Poured into a St. Bernardus goblet.

Pours a deep ruby color with just slight hints of brown. Head is off-white, but vanishes almost as soon as it is poured. Lacing, however is nice as is the collar.
Smell is woody, very woody. Oak is followed by strong alcohol and cherries. A very slight brett funk and caramelly sweet malts. Definite tannins and a slight bit of yeastiness.
Taste is very interesting. Almost wine like. Sour cherries dominate as well as a funky brett characteristics. Some tannins and oakiness. Very slight caramel and hops finish this out. Alcohol is present, but very well hidden under the sourness.
Overall, a very interesting and excellent beer. I'm extremely glad that I had a chance to try this.

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Photo of Sammy
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Incredible. Complex. The bottle talks about an experiment that led to lightning. A Cantillon plus. The yeast, the sourness,the berry, the cherry. Pizza Port, here I come. Radekfest 05 sample 33, thank you Eyedrinkable. Best 1% of beers I have ever had.

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Photo of marburg
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With the initial sip revealing a flurry of flavor that knocks one on one's ass, my initial fear was that this was too intense -- that something unnatural had been unleashed that represented a bastardization of quality Belgian ale.

Fortunately, my first impression was full of crap.

Distinct aromas of cherry, oak, whiskey, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol develop a strange, invigorating impression in my mind. I'm excited by this.

Its strength is immediately evident. It takes one or two sips to adjust to the alcohol after spending several days sipping on homebrew porter, light tripels, and weisse beer. Once the palate is accustomed to this territory, however, the ride is a blast. Charred wood, pure cocoa, cherry, acetic acid, and a vinous, tannic sort of red wine flavor form an immense flavor profile rivaled only by the fizziness of the mouthfeel of this particular bottle. At times, the tartness is downright dominant, making this feel particularly Belgian. Other moments have me think I'm sucking on the tap of some newfangled bourbon and merlot barrel aged extreme ale. At times, I swear there's a numbing bitterness that lingers and lingers.

In any case, the intensity of the alcohol and the flavors limits my ability to consume this moreso than I was hoping but not more than is realistically expected for a beer of this size. Excellent stuff, despite the small gush of beer that emerged at its uncorking.

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Photo of cracker
2.35/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I'm probably the first person who did not like this one. Not sure if it was a 'bad sample' or what. Had it at the Michael Jackson tasting at Penn in Philadelphia. Perhaps the beer was poorly handled or something?

Anyways smell is interesting...a fruity port like wine aroma. Aroma and boquet was very intriguing and enticing. However the taste was of acetic acid to me...too much so. I''ve had Belgian sour ales before but this one was pretty much vinegar. No hops whatsoever. I realize that this brewery is well known and makes quality beers but I simply just did not like this one. Maybe it needs several years of aging for the raw, young flavors to mellow out?

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

Tomme, himself, poured this for me recently at the BURP Spirit of Belgium 2005 conference. It was a deep, dark brown color with a light, brown head. The thing that really jumped out on the nose was the scent of alcohol, which prepared me for the somewhat hot mouthfeel, accomapnied by a taste of sour cherries. The finish was extremely sour with the cherry flavor really asserting itself. After a moment, I also began to tatse lightly of sharp cheese. A very interesting drink, mos def.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Silver foil. Not much head, looks like quelque chose and the aroma has some common notes too. Muddy brown with bold reddish reflects. Although it’s totally unique, I’d compare it to an oerbier reserva. It has an appealing earthy cherries aroma that lets you know from the smell it’s gonna be thick. Leafy, heavy vinous, airy, bitter, sweet licorice, leather and various brett tangles. Enjoyable aroma, at the limit of 8 and 9 for me, but the taste is even more so. Extremely vinous, working wonders with a sharp cheddar as I imagine it with plenty of cinammon, I could imagine mulling this. Sharp and strong herbal character, rhubard, star anise, cloves. Never feels like 11.5%.. Maple, flowers, chocolate, meat, caramel, mud, ashes etc... Liquorous texture, very syrupy, not quite still, but definitely lparticularly ightly carbonated. Surprisingly never too sweet, warming and drying out. A sensory overload. I plead guilty to still expecting it to be better though as I’ve been hunting that one since it had almost no ratings. Thanks Eyechartbrew!

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Photo of beerguy101
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark brown color. Small head. Aroma is chocolate, fruits and malts. A very complex beer. There are definite and separate flavors of; sour cherries, chocolate, raisins, rum and bananas. Nicely mixed and well balanced. Touch of alcohol bite at 12%. Very smooth taste. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter. Nice, complex beer, hides the alcohol well.

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Photo of jcalabre
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Originally sampled on 9 March 2003 at Pizza Port's Belgian Beer Fest in Carlsbad, CA. Dark brown pour, it looked like a porter. A nice aroma of sour cherry hits you. As it aired, lots of notes of brandy & complex flavors came out. A beautiful sipping beer.

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Cuvee De Tomme from The Lost Abbey
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 1,254 ratings