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Cable Car | The Lost Abbey

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Cable CarCable Car

Brewed by:
The Lost Abbey
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by stephendr on 08-12-2007

For Trade:
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Reviews: 226 | Ratings: 948
Photo of Sean9689
4.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009, batch 3, 750ml bottle.
Poured into Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a mirky golden/light copper color. A nice, fluffy, white head quickly follows on a medium-aggressive pour. A nice, frothy, sticky lacing stays behind from the head. Once held into the light, I can see loads and loads of bubbles rise to the top of the glass from the etched "D" on the bottom of my glass. Overall, something to look at in awe and appreciate.

S - Once I popped the cork, I could smell the tart/sour notes from a couple of feet away. Once I brought the glass to my nose, it wanted to turn inside out, just as I imagine my lips will want to do in a few minutes. Musty brett, stanky cheese, lemons, barnyard funk, sweet tropical fruit. All of this combines into an awesome-smelling wild...something to sit back and enjoy for a bit before you taste, lots going on here and probably more then I can pick up.

T - Lip-puckering tart that hits you right off the bat and then mellows out into subtle lemon-esk tingle. This is so damn good, words can hardly describe it. Lots of funky barnyard/brett mixed with some semi-sweet fruity notes. Not too tart/sour which gives you a chance to delve in and enjoy some of the other flavors going on. A nice semi-sweet finish that I don't think I can recall in any other sour I've had. A very complex wild.

M - Light to medium bodied, but it sways more towards medium but not quite "medium" (sorry if I'm confusing here, hard to explain). Very full, but light at the same time. The carbonation is right-on here, a nice fizzy tickle on the tongue that helps open up the flavors. A dry finish that makes you come back for more.

D - This beer makes you sit back and appreciate it. It's easy to drink fast, but why? It's great to chill out while sipping on this from time to time. I don't want this bottle to end, but I'm glad I was able to pop this one open and enjoy. Lost Abbey, you have done it yet again!

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Photo of 0110x011
4.27/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My infinite thanks to Gouldsby for this, my White Whale. Poured into a Lost Abbey chalice.

A - Pours one shade darker than straw, with a thin white head that fades as fast as it appears. Little in the way of lacing.

S - Funky! Potent, cheesy horseblanket hits first. Citric lemon & orange zest in the back.

T - A mild, zippy tartness introduces notes of lemon, grapefruit, and tart green grape. Funk abounds, with an earthier, dirtier profile than the nose led me to expect. Oaky.

M - light bodied. A bit lacking on the carbonation; not as lively as the best sours. Oak tannin keeps it super dry.

D - I was definitely left wanting more, but not in the desperate, pining way I expected.

I had set the bar extremely high for this one, so I suppose a letdown was inevitable. A killer sour beer, but not head-over-shoulders better than other similar sours from LA or RR. If it must be checked off your "to try" list, by all means seek it out. If not, stick to the easier to find sours.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.26/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Shared by pushkinwow - 2012 edition - thanks!

Appearance - Gold colour with an average size white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 4-5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Breads/grains, lemons, vinegar

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste breads/grains, vinegar, tart lemons - both the juice and the zest. Also some hay/straw/funky notes and a bit of a peppery spice mix.

Overall - One of the most balanced beers within this style I have had so far. Very drinkable and extremely tasty. Happy I had the chance to try it.

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Photo of Brez07
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage. Graciously shared by Drazzamatazz. 750ml bottle, poured into an Allagash glass

A: There was only a small pop when opening the bottle. Tangerine colored. Pours with a minimal amount of head. Translucent at first, but became cloudy with the second pour (dregs)

S: Citrusy, squeezed lemons, sweet tarts. Initially I didn't get a lot of funk (it was musty if anything), but as it opened up there was a cheesy/horse blanket aroma to signal the funk had arrived

T: Fairly lemony. Reminded me of the white sweet tarts right after you eat them. Lemon rind, apricot, maybe even some oak. Pretty sour, nice level of funkiness

M: Medium bodied. Lower carbonation, which ultimately I was fine with. Dry finish

D: What can I say, this was a great beer. Very happy to have finally tried it. At first I didn't get it, but the beer eventually showed me what was up. Seek out if you like sours

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Photo of drewba
4.23/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Hazy dull yellow with a super fizzy two finger head. This recedes to a thin film with little retention and medium lacing.

S - Dry, slightly estery with lemon, grass and a ton of funk. Smells a bit farty.

T - Lots of funky grass and straw, mellow dry white wine flavors, lemon and plenty of yeast. The flavors are clean and makes for a quick drinker. This isn't as sour as it is funky, it reminds me more of a bretty saison with loads of funk. Subtle, clean, funky.

M - carbonation cleans the palate nicely, the tartness and funk doesn't linger long. The carbonation is just spot on, love it.

D - Drinks so quickly and the carbonation helps save the palate.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.22/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Yellow, really not more than a nice pale yellow, with a big white head.

S - Vinegar/wine influence, some oak, little bit grassy. Lemon, citrus, pears, light apple, round out the scent on this one.

T - Light tasting, little grassy, some peach, apricot, apple, pear, nothing overpowering, not too terribly sweet, a bit tart. This is a very solid sour/wild ale, but not the best I have had. Little bit of funk, nicely complex.

M - Light, nice bubbly carbonation. Dry finish.

D - Very drinkable, as it is happily complex and there is nothing overpowering going on here.

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Photo of pastradul
4.22/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a wine glass at toronado SDBW 2010

2010 vintage

Poured a semi-hazy straw yellow. with a nice 2 fingers of white fluffy head.

the aroma is a mild funk with some bright lemon tartness.

the taste is pretty good. Upfront you get a mixturen of sweetness... kinda lemon, citrus maybe... in the middle of the palate you get the barnyard and funk coming out a bit with some more sweetness. The back of the palate is where the tartness kicks in a hits the throught a little bit.

over all a great beer. This vintage is certainly young and needs some more time to develop and creat the tart sour flavors that are missing!

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Photo of srandycarter
4.21/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear honey. Not much head, no lace.

S - Astringent, tart.

T - Sharp fruit, tart, tight yeast, very tasty.

M - Medium body, great balance and carb.

D - A joy to finally try at Toronado in San Diego! Wanted to pull the trigger on this years ago, but so expensive.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 @ toronado San Fran

Pours a lignite straw yellow with a hit of haze and a nice tall fizzy head.

Lots of lemon and vinegar on the nose. Subtle malt and citrus hops. Light oak character in the back.

Taste was similar to the smell. Lots of lemon zest with a strong vinegar sourness to it. The malt character really was noticeable in the back. This really reminded me of a gueuze.

Lots of carbonation with a light body. Slight dryness.

Now that I have had this fresh, I prefer this aged. The aged 2007 seemed to have more fruit flavors where as this came across as a fresh unbalanced gueuze. Would I pay forty a bottle again? Most likely...

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Photo of tjfinkle
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Bottle poured into tulip at Toronado in San Diego

Appearance- Pale straw with thick white fluffy head and nice carbonation

Smell - The first thing that I noticed right of the bat obviously was the sourness with some citrus and cherry notes

Taste - Sour cherries and some citrus just like the nose. Some have commented on a sulfuric taste/smell to this beer which I noticed a slight flavor of; however I did not find it overpowering. This is a very mellow sour beer

Mouth-Lightly puckering with nice carbonation

Drink- Easy drinking beer, especially for a sour, possibly too easy of a beer for this style. Overall a good and well balanced beer, but could have used a little more flavor. I will be interested to see how this beer matures over time in comparison to the previous vintages.

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Photo of raveskdr
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Big ups to Dyan for this one as well. Poured into my mini snifter.

A - Brownish golden hue. Bubbles dissipate quickly but there is a ton of bubbles that stick to the inside of the glass inside the beer.

S - The oak and vinuous character really stand out up front. Light lemon also intermingles.

T - There is plenty of oak up near the front. The lemony tartness follows on the back and and cuts through the middle of my tongue.

M - Very champagne-y on the tongue, despite being from 2008. The bubbles help the drinkability of the beer.

O - An extremely solid American wild. May not be super fair to put this up against everything else. It doesn't fall short, per se. It's a very very good sour.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is golden yellow with a bubbly white head. Nose has very faint barrel with hints of acetic acid, notes of leathery bret and orange peel with a nice vinous quality. Taste is very drinkable, sour white grape skins and citrus with hints of oak and vanilla. Faint leathery bret and a touch of citrus towards the back of the palate. Lighter body and strong carbonation (shocking) with a dry and lightly sour finish. Very delicate flavors and pretty well done.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle caged and corked

A: poured a murky orange yellow with a finger white head that had decent sticky lacing.

S: great nose that consisted of lemons apples little funk and hints of vinegar. I always wondered what this beer would smell like.

T: The taste almost mirrors the smell with lots of lemons and apples hitting the palette with fruity sourness and a slight dry finish.

M: has a medium body with good bubbly carbonation that compliments the taste.

D: chased this beer for a couple months and was not dissapointed. I could drink quite a bit of this beer if it was avaliable like that.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tomme for opening a few bottles of the new batch of Cable Car (batch 2) for the RateBeer event.

Poured a golden color with minimal head...nothing too fancy but decent for the style.

Aroma of green apples on the nose, funk, sweet pale malt, yeast, sour pear, and an odd spiciness. Now, I have not encountered such a spiciness in other sour beers, this one smells like a bread or bread dough with spices. Starts to get more fruity as it warms up.

Taste of dough, spices again, ripe pear, various tropical fruits (but not too fruity), spicy bread, and sweet oak. Tastes very young and definitely needs to sit some more. Less spicy character after it warms up. Sweet cracker taste in the finish.

Slightly syrupy but soft with some carbonation in the back.

Needs to develop some more but tasting pretty good right now.

I also tried the first batch tonight but I didn't take any notes, it was definitely a bit more tart, had less of the spicy character and was a bit more yeasty. Definitely gets better with age.

***update 7-27-09****

Had the opportunity to try batch 1 (2007) and batch 2 (2008) at the "You Bring the Cheese Tasting" on July 25-26th 2009.

I was very interesting to have both vintages side-by-side. I had not tried this one since last year. The surprise of the tasting was that the batch 1 (2007) Cable Car was not doing so well.

Batch 1 had a weird tannic and muddy flavors, as well as a stronger spicy oak flavor. Batch 2 also had the spicy oak flavors and aroma but more balanced and a cleaner tartness.

Good to see that batch 2 is holding up fine and could age a bit longer, I will keep my bottle for as long as I can and see what happens.

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Photo of djmichaelk
4.18/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage, at Toronado SF (of course, where else?).

A - Slightly hazy straw-yellow, with a large rocky off-white head. Nice retention and lacing.

S - Okay, so I've heard plenty of reports -- from some people whose opinions I respect -- of sulfurous odors and such. I'm happy to say that I didn't get that at all in my bottle. I also shared it with a couple of people next to me and the bartender just to make sure, and no one had that experience. Not sure if I just got a good bottle or what. Anyway, plenty of lemon, lots of barnyard funk, and a good dose of oak. Very pleasant.

T - Pucking sourness right off the bat. Lemony flavors smack you in the face, and then the vinegar takes over. Oak is all up in your face. The funkiness really dominates, and I mean that in the best possible way. The citrus cuts through it in the end. Long dry finish. Very little alcohol evident.

M - Very nicely carbonated, with almost a creamy feel at times, and at other times almost champagne-like. Light and dry.

D - After most of a bottle, this didn't faze me too much. The flavors would keep me coming back if not for the obvious cost issue.

O - Hmmm. Is this a beer that I would cross the world for? Or pay $40 for again? Well, probably not. It's too similar to several cheaper, although also very limited, beers that I have in the cellar. But is it a beer that I'm very glad to have tried? Absolutely.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.18/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden body with a white, wispy head.

Smell: A funk-riddled yeasty, fruity, tart-smelling aroma of apricots, citrus, and peaches. Hint of oak.

Taste: Faint malt flavor with a touch of dough and a brief sweetness with a follow-through of the fruits lurking in the aroma. Bright acidity. Musty, earthy yeast character. Faint oakiness. Dry, tart finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Lively carbonation.

Drinkability: A very fine beer. I'm quite pleased I had the chance to try this one.

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Photo of Verecund
4.17/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage opened on June 12, 2011. Bottle at Toronado.

Pours a hazy and yellowed amber with a half-finger white cap. Some lacing.

Nice citrus notes – lemon and orange – alongside light white wine vinegar, green apple, and apricot. There’s some funk, but less than I expected, really: soft farmhouse straw-like must alongside a woody and mushroomy brettanomyces bruxellensis funk.

The moderate sourness gives way to a lightly fruity, citrusy tartness. It almost resembles a cider, with its notes of white wine vinegar and lactic acidity, though it is balanced by a good bit of oak and earthy funk. A citrus/quasi-tropical fruitiness (e.g., kumquat) and bready sweetness rounds out the mid-palate.

Medium light in body with medium carbonation. There’s a pleasant dry finish following the lactic acidity. Very drinkable, though I wouldn’t object to a little more acidity, which I’m sure varies according to the vintage. Personally, I wouldn’t give up the farm for this, but wouldn’t pass up a chance to try it.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.17/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into shaker pint on 4/18/09. Many thanks to akorsak for busting out this rarity at his recent tasting party!

A - Poured a hazy golden body with subtle carbonation and a thin, wispy white head that dissolved to a patchy film and left sparse lacing.

S - Citric notes with a sour apple character and a mild band-aid aspect. Dry oaky notes with a moderate tartness reminiscent of sour grapes.

T - Moderate tart and sour notes with apple and grape notes and a mild woody presence suggesting oaky, earthy notes. Finishes with a white wine crispness and a prevalent sour character. Finishes with a dry, tart sourness on the palate.

M - Medium bodied with a slight syrupy texture and lively carbonation. Dry, tart and crisp finish on the palate.

D - One of the better Wild Ales I've had thus far. Big thanks to akorsak for pulling out this 750ml before I had to leave his tasting on Saturday afternoon. Great stuff!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.16/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Batch 2; Sampled August 2008
Funky, cheesy and sour notes are quite noticeable as I pour this brew. An average pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces an almost two finger thick, pale, white colored head that leaves some lacing on the sides of my glass. This has a little chill haze and a touch of permanent haze to it; it went into the cooler with only a slight haze. The beer is a murky, light amber color as it sits on my desk, but it shows an orangish copper hue when held up to the light. Wow, this is much more funky than I was expecting it to be, more funky than just about any other Lost Abbey brew. Ample butyric acid aromas of old, dried sweat laden blankets and cured leather are joined by funky-woody mushroom aromas, some definite farmhouse cheese notes (though this is somewhat soft), uriatic cat pee, fresh scraped lemon zest, oxidized peanuts. This is all anchored by spicy, tannic oak notes that linger in the background of the nose, but are quite noticeable once you get past the funk. Some fruitiness seems noticeable at times, but at others is drowned out by the funk; when noticed, aromas of ripe pear, white wine vinegar, hints of kumquat pith & zest, . This has a very complex, very funky aroma that has a significant, but not overwhelming oak character that seems to be a bit more pervasive than I originally thought, but as a supporting role.

The first sip is quite dry tasting, it is not quite as mouth puckeringly sour as I was expecting, based upon the aroma, but still has a nice tartness to it. My first sip definitely leaves me thinking that this needs to have a harder sourness to it. The carbonation is at a light-medium level; persistent, prickly and noticeable, but not any where near the effervescence of sparkling Gueuze (which seems to be a rarer and rarer thing now a days, even amongst the classic Gueuze producers). The flavor also seems a bit cleaner than the aroma, though it is definitely tart and funky. The acidity here seems predominantly lactic in character and reminds me of tart grapefruit, some lemon zest, a touch of vinegar-like bite in the finish. Other flavors that round things out are a slight, funky cheddar cheese note, something a bit like smoked almonds, a touch of saltiness (tied up in the previous note), a definitely tannic finish and some light, spicy oak notes there as well. This somehow picks up a perception of sweetness to it, though I don't think there is much in the way of residual sugars in this beer; it almost seems to be acidity based. Light and quaffable, this beer also hides its alcohol quite well, which makes it all that much more drinkable.

My second pour of this is a touch more yeasty, which seems to soften the tartness a bit and also adds some raw, fermented dough notes (though only just a touch) as well as enhancing a cooked bread like character (sour dough to be sure though). I easily polish off this 750ml bottle, though there is enough acidity to make my empty stomach feel a bit rumbly. Worthy of the hype that I built up in my mind? I don't know, but it is definitely worth the hype to try it. It could use a touch more carbonation as a beer like this could always use a lively carbonation in my book.

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Photo of waltonc
4.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronado in August. This is a pretty tasty sour beer. I was very impressed. Hazy golden color with solid white head. Taste is crisp and tart, fruity, oaky, and sour. Funk is certainly present, but not excessive, which I appreciated. Considering the style, which I generally can't drink too much of, I was very impressed with this, and look forward to opening up the bottle I also purchased on Toronado's 21st anniversary night.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour at Woodshop 8 held at The Hermosillo in Los Angeles, CA.

2009 vintage.

Pours a murky light orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is sour and tart with malt, fruit, and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with sour and tart fruit-like flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is tasty and very easy to drink.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.14/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage

A: The pour is a very hazy golden yellow color without much head and very little retention.

S: The nose is full of lactic tartness with a mild mustiness and a pleasant barnyard funk. The sourness is primarily in the form of lemon and green apples.

T: The flavor is highly sour with plenty of lemony lactic acid and a touch of vinegar. The funk is much more subdued than the nose would lead you to believe.

M: The body is light to medium with a full carbonation and a nice dry finish.

D: This particular bottle was the best of the Cable Car pours that I've had. A solid sourness and nice fruit character, but a little lacking in the "funk" department.

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Photo of Zaximus
4.14/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very nice sour but count me in the camp of rarity builds some hype in this one. Plenty of other comprable sours at a far lower price point that are easier to acquire.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.12/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this 2009 bottle at dld. The beer is a murky gold not much to note. The aroma is complex starting out with lemon citrus, earthiness, and some nice tartness. The taste is the same light citrus to start some nice tart not sour notes. I had this amind veritas 003, 004 and yellow bus. It held its one but not a top wild ale.

2007 bottle thanks to Sean. Found this to be very sweet.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.07/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Pours a hazy golden body with the briefest of white heads. Nary a collar as it settles.

Smell - Fruity acidity. Some malt and oak. Fruit is like a light grape, white wine aroma.

Taste - Sweeter than I expected. Oak is strong. White wine notes all over. Lactic sourness. Malty.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy body. Medium carbonation. Oaky and moderate sourness.

Overall - Not a complex sour, but very well made. More than the sum of its parts.

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Cable Car from The Lost Abbey
4.49 out of 5 based on 948 ratings.
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